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STRAY SPORT 



a I 



• « « • • 

« M a « 



• W 



M * 



M > W , 






STRAY SPORT 



BY 



J. MORAY BROWN 



t 



I 



(LATB 79th QUBBN'S OWN CAMERON HICaLANDBRS)^ 

AUTHOR OF < SHIKAR SKETCHES,' ' POWDER, 'sSVV^ ^MTD Sl^Aft/ 
•the days WHEN WE WENT HOG-dUNTlNO/ ETC!.--- ^-^ 



J ,< <« « 4 w * 



IN TWO VOLUMES 
VOL. I. 



WILLIAM BLACKWOOD AND SONS 

EDINBURGH AND LONDON 

MDCCCXCIII 



All Bights reserved 












• t • • • • 
PRINTia) BY WILLIAM BLACKWOOD AND SONS 



<^'*fi UBfiARY 






TO 
GEORGE ARNULPH MONTGOMERIE, 

EARL OF EGLINTON AND WINTON, 

AS A SLIGHT ACKNOWLEDGMENT OP MUCH KINDNESS, 

THESE PAGES 

ARE GRATEFULLY DEDICATED BY 

THE AUTHOR. 



927131 



PEEFACE, 



As the title implies, this volume can only aspire 
to be a collection of sporting incidents, framed 
from the pages of a diary as fancy seized me ; 
whilst three of the chapters, though they may 
be termed fiction, are yet founded on fact — 
viz., those entitled ** Peggie's Mistake," **A 
Woman's Nerve," and " Specimens of Sports- 
men." The others are all true records of per- 
sonal experiences ; and though they have no 
pretensions to sensationalism, they will, I trust, 
prove acceptable to sportsmen who have passed 
many happy hours by flood and field, and enable 
them to while away an idle hour by recalling 
similar scenes in which they themselves have 
been the principal actors. 

Some of these articles have already appeared 
in the columns of the ' Field,' ' Land and Water,' 
the ^Illustrated Sporting and Dramatic News,' 



VIU PREFACE. 

' The Asian/ ' London Society/ and the ' Daily- 
Graphic/ to whose proprietors and editors I 
must return my best thanks for their courtesy 
in allowing me to republish them in book form. 

I have purposely, and in order to avoid con- 
fusion, divided the volume into two parts : the 
first dealing with shooting and hog-hunting in 
India, the second with sport at home. 

To the artists — Lieut. -Col. Jackson, Mr J. C. 
Dollman, Mr C. Bradley, Mr G. D. Giles, Miss 
F. L. Banks, and Mr Frank Feller — who have 
aided me with their clever pencils, I must 
tender my grateful thanks for the admirable 
way in which they have caught the spirit of 
the various incidents illustrated, feeling sure 
that any merit attaching to the work will be 
more due to them than to the author. 

In conclusion, I would only say that, with 
no desire to instruct the practical sportsman, I 
yet hope the inexperienced may gather a hint 
or two from these pages, and be able to appre- 
ciate, even when engaged in sport, the beauties 
of Nature's surroundings, and feel thankful that 
they are permitted to inhale " God's glorious 

oxygen." 

J. MOEAY BEOWK 

Bedford Park, July 1893. 



CONTENTS OF THE FIRST VOLUME. 



PART I.— INDIAN SHIKAR. 

CHAP. 

I. H^C OLIM, 

11. TIGER-SHOOTING, .... 

III. THE MEASUREMENTS AND WEIGHTS OF TIGERS 

IV. toggle's MISTAKE, .... 

V. A woman's nerve, .... 

VI. CHITAL-SHOOTING IN THE SEWALIK HILLS, 
VII. SMALL-GAME SHOOTING AND NATURAL-HISTORY 

ROUND DELHI, .... 

Vin. AFTER JUNGLE-FOWL IN CEYLON, . 
IX. THE GRAND DUKE OF TUSCANY, . 

X. A hunter's camp in the east, . 

XL A SOLITARY HUNT, .... 
XIL MY THIRTY-FOUR-INCHER, . 
Xin. THE SONG OF THE SPEAR; OR, A LAY OF THE 
PORE HUNT, ..... 
NOTE TO CHAPTER III., 



NOTES 



NAG- 



PAOE 

3 
14 
55 

84 
102 
114 

139 
172 
183 
194 
210 
224 

233 
239 



CONTENTS. 



PAKT II.— SPORT AT HOME. 
SHOOTING. 

I. A NOVEMBER DAY IN BUCHAN, .... 247 

11. A ROBDBER-DRIVB, 268 

III. THE FEAST OP ST PARTRIDGE DOGS OR DRIVING? 280 

IV. A DAY ON THE OUTSIDES, 297 



ILLUSTEATIONS TO THE FIRST VOLUME. 



FULL-PAGE ILLUSTRATIONS. 

"the sign-manual of FELIS TIGRISy' 

"nine feet six inches," 

"the brute was lying across me," 

"our larder," 

"be jinks to one side," 

"come on, and be hanged to you!" 

"suddenly let fly with both heels at the boar," 

"the boar lying dead under a big rock, 

" he's got her ! " . 

"bess makes a lovely point," 



IVontiapiece 


To face 


pcu/e 52 


• • •• 


110 


* * 99 


126 


1 
• * 99 


202 


* * 99 


204 


THE BOAR," „ 


216 


K," . 


232 


• * )9 


266 


• • •« 


288 



ILLUSTRATIONS IN THE TEXT. 

« 

BRENT GOOSE AND MALLARD. A LUCKY RIGHT AND LEFT, 
A 9-FOOT 10-INCH TIGER. NATURALIST'S MEASUREMENT, 
A 9-FOOT 10-INCH TIGER. SPORTSMAN'S MEASUREMENT, 
A FRUITFUL CAUSE OF DISPUTE, 
MAHOMED BUX, ..... 



PAGE 

13 
72 
72 
83 
101 



Xll 



ILLUSTRATIONS. 



THE LITTLE TRINKET, .... 

BLACK BUCK, ..... 

A PERIYA DURAf S BUNGALOW, 

THE GRAND DUKE, .... 

** WUH ! JATA ! " . 

"OP THOSE DAYS WB'LL OFTEN THINK," 

THE SONG OF THE SPEAR, 

PROFESSOR CAMERON DELIVERING A LECTURE, 

HOW CAN WE SHOOT HER? . 

AN OLD COCK BIRD, .... 

A BRACE OF "LONG-TAILS," . 



113 
171 
182 
193 
209 
223 
235, 237 
267 
279 
296 
304 



PAET I. 



INDIAN SHIKAK 






« ' a«4<« •« 



• • 



tf « 






STEAT SPOET. 



CHAPTER I. 



HjEC olim. 



Amongst all the lares et penates of a sports- 
man s den, the fetishes, relics, trophies — call them 
what you will — few are perhaps more valued by 
those that have had the wisdom to keep them 
than Sporting Diaries ; few will bring back with 
more forcible clearness past happy days on moun- 
tain and moor, in jungle and on plain, by sea- 
shore and stream. Pictures of past favourites, 
equine and canine, antlered heads, foxes' masks, 
skins, spears, whips, horse-hoofs, and stuffed birds, 
from the fact of their constantly meeting the eye, 
lose to a certain extent their interest, and after 
a time are looked upon almost mechanically by 



INDIAN SHIKAR. 



their owner, without always bringing vividly be- 
fore him the incidents of the day with which 
they were connected. When the trophies are 
many and varied, memory is apt to fail and 
become donfqs^d,' and it needs a stronger re- 
ipinder if .wa would- fain call to mind the locality 
■ where • they • 1^^ the date, and the 

attendant circumstances. Not so the Sporting 
Diary. You have only to turn over its pages, 
and however roughly the notes may have been 
kept, heigh ! presto ! and as if touched by a 
magician's wand, the mists that enshroud the 
past vanish, the curtain of oblivion is torn aside, 
and once more in spirit you re-enact all the old 
scenes, and see before you the quarry that it 
gave you so much enjoyment to circumvent ; the 
whole scene is mapped out, and you see every 
stick and stone, every tree and inequality of the 
ground, where the incident took place. Tinged 
with sadness perhaps such days may be, when we 
recall cheery comrades who participated in our 
sport, and who are now scattered or dead ; the 
gallant horse who carried us so well, or the faith- 
ful dog who obeyed our slightest behest. Yet, 
after all, they were very happy days ! 

" A while we bid them linger near, 
And muse in wavering memories 
The bitter-sweet of days that were." 



H^G OLIM. 5 

So, my old book, battered and worn though your 
binding be, and faded the ink-lines that cover 
your pages, come forth ; let me dip back into the 
past, tenderly and with reverence, and see what 
you will tell, for every feature of those scenes is 
invested with a halo of fond memories. 

Speaking conscientiously, the first pages are 
but records of failure, the result of inexperience, 
so they must be skimmed. But see 1 here is the 
first success thus recorded : "A good black 
buck, 20-inch horns." That is all. But what 
visions it recalls ! A far-stretching sandy plain, 
a herd of some fifty Indian antelope {A. cervi- 
capra), swaggered over by a jet-black buck, who 
with swelling neck, head thrown back, and tail 
curled over his back, is trotting about in all the 
pride of masterly supremacy ; now fascinating 
some admiring doe with an amorous glance, i^ow 
warning off with a threatened prod of his grace- 
ful spiral horns some " buckeen " who ventures on 
too familiar terms with the ladies of his hareem. 
How long we lay and watched him from the scant 
shelter of a thorn bush, till the herd fed on to 
more favourable ground, and we crawled and 
squirmed along until a sinuous nullah brought us 
within range ! Then the agony of fear lest we 
should miss and lose those long annulated horns ; 
the shot ; the flying stotting herd as they scat- 



6 INDIAN SHIKAR. 

tered right and left ; and then, oh joy ! the 
beautiful animal lying dead with an at last pro- 
perly placed bullet through his heart ! 

More failures to be skimmed ; then the scene 
changes, the arid plain gives place to the rolling 
hills and bamboo-clothed slopes of the Sewalik 
hills rifted here and there with gorge and corrie, 
and bring us into sambhur and chital ground, 
whilst the entry *' A hind sambhur" {Rusa aris- 
totelis) brings even now a flush of shame to our 
brow as we remember how we heard a crash 
in the jungle to our left and " flufied ofi* " at a 
great brown body that we caught a momentary 
glimpse of. Then the disgust, the, alas ! naughty 
word that would escape as, on going up to in- 
vestigate our prize, we found it a hind instead of 
the antlered monarch that our heated imagina- 
tion had pictured ! It taught its lesson, though, 
and the deaths of no more hind sambhur are 
recorded. 

A few pages further on mark a day of great 
excitement ; a long weary tramp after a " rogue " 
elephant, the unsuccessful shot, and the bitter- 
ness of despair that followed the shot as the huge 
pachyderm crashed off, caring as much for the 
misplaced 1 - bore bullet we had put into him 
as he would for a flea-bite. But before the trip 
ended a gleam of sunshine seems to have flashed 



HjEO olim, 7 

across our path, and a rough sketch shows our 
first chital {Axis maculatus) hanging by his hind- 
legs in the impromptu larder afforded by the 
branches of a huge mango-tree. Ay, he was a 
goodly beast, with wide - spreading antlers and 
" all his rights," sleek and glossy of coat, with 
clearly defined white spots down his fat sides; 
and we can even now congratulate ourselves on 
the adroit manner we stalked him over that 
thick carpet of dead leaves, sans boots, and with 
our heart in our mouth. 

Then comes a long record of bags made : snipe 
and quail, black partridge, duck, teal, geese, 
coolen, blue-rocks, pea-fowl, and all the repertoire 
of Indian small-game shooting, varied with occa- 
sional days at black buck, chikara {A. Bennettii)^ 
and nilghye (Portax picta), till at last we come to 
nobler game, an era in our life, when we fleshed 
our maiden spear in the grim grey boar ! Truly 
sings the Indian poet,— 

" Ah ! who hath been in such a scene, 
That scene can e'er forget 1 
In sorrow's mood, in solitude. 
Its dream will haunt him yet." 

Exciting as this proved, it was but child s-play 
to the record contained a few pages on, in merely 
these words, "Won my first 'spear' — a thirty- 
one incher. Rode Dooker, lent me by N ." 



8 INDIAN SHIKAR. 

How every stick and stone of the rough hillside 
where the " sounder " was reared seems spread out 
before our vision ! How we clattered down the 
steep rock-covered slope, our horse slipping and 
slithering at every stride ; and what agony we 
experienced as a better mounted comrade shot 
past us and *4aid in"; and then, oh joy! the 
pig jinks, our rival misses his spear ; with one 
supreme effort we get up, and in spite of more 
jinking on the part of the hog, the veteran hunter 
we bestride takes us up to the boar, and we win 
the coveted " first spear " ! 

The death of many another and more noble 

boar is recorded, and recorded with more detail ; 

> 

but somehow the interest that attaches to our 
" first " of any game is lacking, and the scenes 
seem not quite so vivid. But it is ever so ; and 
however great a hunter a man becomes in after- 
years, I firmly believe that the deaths of heca- 
tombs of birds and beasts do not remain em- 
bedded in his brain as does the rabbit shot with 
the old single-barrelled gun that " entered " him 
to sport. Tell me, ye " customers," with your 
studs of a dozen or twenty hunters, you who take 
your pleasure in the " grass countries," do you in 
sober middle age, after going a cracker for forty 
minutes in the first flight, feel half, or even a 
quarter, of the thrill and glow of delight that you 



HuEG OLIM, 



experienced when, one bright October morning 
out cub-hunting, you were blooded by the hunts- 
man ? Do you ever feel half the affection for the 
three hundred guineas' worth of horse-flesh that 
flings the big fences behind him as a girl does a 
skipping-rope, that you felt for the rough little 
sheltie that scrambled over a gap with you into 
, the field where you saw your first fox killed ? 
I trow not — nay, I will even venture a modest 
wager that you do not. C^est le premier pas qui 
coute is a very true saying, and one that applies 
to sport as to most other things. The first fox, 
the first grouse, the first pheasant, the first race- 
horse, the first salmon or trout, ay, even the first 
kiss of " lovp's young dream," — these remain in 
delibly imprinted on our memories when we have 
drunk the cup of life to its dregs, and are far 
sweeter and more enduring than all subsequent 
delights. 

But the book still stands open; let me turn 
once more to its faded pages. Ah ! here it is — 
another "first" "Marouda; tigress, 7 feet 11 
inches, and three cubs." How the scene comes 
back! — the reports that the said tigress was a 
man-eater (she had killed a man the previous day, 
but only because he came too near the spot where 
her little striped darlings were laid up, and never 
had any intention of eating him). How we pic- 



10 INDIAN SHIKAR. 

tured to ourselves a good "scuffle" with this 
feline demon; how carefully we loaded a good 
many more cartridges than we could possibly 
require ! We can see even now the jabbering 
throng of beaters as they collected in the tope of 
trees where our camp was pitched, the start, the 
selection of posts ; we can feel the hot, still air, 
see the shadows cast by the clumps of bamboo 
and bare trees, the silent approach of the game, 
and then the very, very mild termination, for she 
fell like a log to a single bullet ! 

Other more exciting incidents occur later on. 
Five days spent in beating for a particularly leary 
tiger, which at last was bagged; a good scuffle 
on foot with a brute that nearly got home, and 
another when a tiger got on to our elephant's 
head, and we were in mortal terror of being 
pitched head-foremost into a deep nullah, on the 
borders of which the battle took place. 

Days with bison, bear, and panther are also 
brought to mind by a further perusal, some 
exciting, some the reverse, but all possessing an 
interest to the writer, evoking as they do shades 
of bygone sport. Then a long blank, till the 
thread is once more taken up, and days of Brit- 
ish sport chronicled. Now a day in the " West 
Countrie" with stag-hounds amongst the purple 
heights and wooded coombes of Exmoor ; now one 



HJEQ OLIM. 11 

on some sweet Devon stream, either hunting the 
wily otter with the veteran Collier, fifty-three 
years master of otter-hounds, or spent in luring 
the speckled trout from his native element. Fox, 
badger, and hare add their quota to the tale ; 
and shootings in the north and south, with the 
bags made and the names of the " guns," conjure 
up many pleasant days of sport. And so years 
after, perhaps, we turn back, and see every day 
brought before us, though depicted perhaps only 
in a few words. Take the following entry : 
" Fine but hard frost. Tried the South Ugie for 
duck. Got 6 mallard, a teal, and a brent-goose 
— the latter by himself with a lot of duck. Got 
him and a mallard ^ right and left.' Missed 3 
snipe. Fired 15 shots." Yes, it was an enjoy- 
able day that spent in the crisp northern air ; 
and the bag, though modest, worked for. 

Then, too, we recall the days when we " held 
straight," and got kudos accordingly ; or perhaps 
those when we were " off our shoot," and missed 
easy shots for some unaccountable reason, for we 
remember that we did not sit up late, we did not 
smoke too many cigars, nor drink too many 
" whiskies-and-sodas," on those particular occa- 
sions. Yet the records are true. Success and 
failiu'e stare us in the face ; and though we may 
endeavour to frame excuses for the latter, and 



12 INDIAN SHIKAR. 

congratulate ourselves on the former, yet what 
we have written down for our own eye alone 
bears an impress of truth, that not even the 
greatest caviller at facts can detract from. 

" Written to put in a book ! " the sceptic may 
exclaim, with a sneer. Not a bit, my dear sir. 
You or I may buck and exaggerate to others, 
but we do not do so to ourselves, and what we 
put down in our diaries as actual occurrences is 
truthful. Were it otherwise, what would be the 
value to us of such a record ? Sporting fact and 
sporting fiction, charming though the latter is, 
particularly when dealt with by the master-hand 
of a Whyte-Melville, are two very difierent things. 
In the first case, the writer either records his 
sport for his own gratification, or for the informa- 
tion of others ; in the second, he writes to amuse 
or interest the public. In the former, the inci- 
dents of a day's sport will be jotted down in 
perhaps rough, unpolished style, but a style that 
will bring home to sportsmen the actual occur- 
rences, whilst the reader wiU be able to paint in 
his mind's eye the details and occasions of the 
scene. In the latter, a certain amount of irrele- 
vant padding is deemed necessary to suit the 
requirements of the public. But of the respective 
merits of the twain, sportsmen will have but one 
opinion, and in their eyes, at least, the roughest 



actual diary will possess far more value than the 
most polished, well-turned phrases, which have 
little to do with the subject in point. May not, 
therefore, the legend, " Hebc olim meminisse ju- 
vabit," be fitly inscribed in each Sporting Diary? 
Gainsay me who will, I think it may ; for to the 
writer, at least, its contents will bring back happy 
memories of " days that are no more." 



Brent Goose and Mallard. A liieky right and left. 



14 



CHAPTER 11. 



TIGER-SHOOTING. 



Tiger-shooting, considered as a sport, may be 
said to rank among the highest. It is one 
that calls forth the matching of man's reason- 
ing powers, combined with courage, endurance, 
and self - command, against the more savage 
animal instincts of brute force and cunning. 
Doubtless the successful pursuit of all sport 
necessitates the exercise of these qualities more 
or less on man's part, but in tiger-shooting they 
are absolutely essential. Moreover, the danger- 
ous character of the animal hunted, to say 
nothing of the scenery amid which he is found, 
adds a great zest and charm to the chase. Even 
from a purely humanitarian point of view, if 
from no other, the destruction of a fierce and 
dangerous animal must of itself prove a source 
of honest pride and keen satisfaction to the man 
who, by the exercise of his skill, rids his fellow- 



TIGER-SHOOTING. 1 5 

men of a scourge, such as tigers often become. 
In addition to this, the sportsman, should success 
crown his efforts, will have the pleasure of pos- 
sessing trophies in the shape of skins which 
for beauty and colouring are unrivalled ; and 
further, the remembrance of days of thrilling 
sport, with all its attendant excitement, must 
ever afford him, in after -years, a source of 
pleasant recollection, and a theme of conversa- 
tion of which he will never weary. 

Although there is much in tiger - shooting 
which, looked upon as a mere matter of skill, or as 
exercise, may render it inferior to other Eastern 
sports in the eyes of some, yet it is surrounded 
by attractions which few others possess. There 
is a something that stirs the blood at the mere 
thought of attacking and vanquishing an animal 
before whom man, though well armed, is com- 
paratively helpless; before whom every other 
denizen of the jungle quails; a creature that 
for colour, agile strength, beauty, and symmetry 
is unequalled in animate creation; that attracts 
men to its pursuit even after every other form 
of sport has ceased to charm them, or affords 
sufficient excitement to undergo the toil of 
shooting in a tropical and enervating climate. 

The general impression with regard to tiger- 
shooting is decidedly erroneous. This impression 



16 INDIAN SHIKAR. 

is, to a certain extent, inculcated by absurd 
drawings in several of the illustrated papers — 
drawings done by artists who, however clever 
in other respects, from the mere fact of never 
having participated in the sport, and being 
forced to take as their models the animals in 
the Zoological Gardens, must be unable to por- 
tray truthfully and accurately the various inci- 
dents of the sport, and the appearance, action, 
and postures of the hunted and hunter. I once 
saw, in one of the illustrated papers, a whole 
sheet devoted to a most ludicrous series of 
drawings, entitled " Tiger - hunting in India." 
In one of the sketches the sportsman was de- 
picted struggling on the ground with an infuri- 
ated tiger, and holding him down by the throat 
with one hand (fancy poor puny man having 
the physical force to perform such a feat ! ), 
whilst with the other he was preparing to ad- 
minister the coup de grdce with a formidable- 
looking bowie-knife ! In another the sportsman 
(whose "get up," by the way, savoured more 
of Buffalo Bill and the Wild West than of an 
Anglo-Indian shikari) was shown calmly crawl- 
ing up to a tiger through a dense grass-jungle 
with as much sang-froid as if he were merely 
stalking a flock of wild-duck ! And yet hun- 
dreds of people will sincerely believe that this 



TIGER-SHOOTING. 1 7 

sort of thing happens every day. Absurdities 
like these, combined with the reputation for 
exaggeration which Anglo-Indians of a former 
generation unfortunately acquired, tend to give 
the uninitiated a very false idea of the sport. 
They are, in consequence, either too credulous, 
or else they believe nothing. It is by no means 
uncommon to find people who think that one 
cannot take a stroll in an Indian jungle with- 
out running up against a so - called " Royal 
Bengal tiger ! " — why styled " Royal," and why 
"Bengal," heaven only knows! — that for his 
pursuit a long line of elephants and innumerable 
beaters armed with fireworks, &c., besides a 
whole army of sportsmen, each with three or four 
rifles, are an absolute necessity. All nonsense. 

To begin with, tigers do not exist in such very 
great numbers, owing to the increase in cultiva- 
tion and consequent decrease of forests, and are 
scattered over a large area. Moreover, they are 
not found without a good deal of trouble and 
management, and it is perhaps not till the fact 
is brought home to one by many blank days and 
much disappointmlent, that one realises how com- 
paratively few in numbers tigers really are, and 
how little danger attends a ramble in the jungles. 
A dozen tigers as the result of a two months' 
hot -weather trip is considered a remarkably 

VOL. I. B 



18 INDIAN SHIKAR. 

good bag, though, of course, this number is often 
exceeded ; but then it must be remembered that 
the area of ground hunted over is remarkably 
large. Nor is the magna committante caterva 
of elephants and beaters essentially necessary, 
except in certain places which will be alluded 
to later on. 

That strange adventures do occur at times 
there is no doubt, but they are the exception 
and not the rule ; and for one tiger that really 
shows fight and makes good his charge, there 
are twenty that do not. Truth is often stranger 
than fiction, and many Indian sportsmen are 
chary of relating their experiences ; nor without 
reason. I remember reading in one of the sport- 
ing papers a case in point, which will serve as 
an apt illustration. A gallant officer and well- 
known sportsman, who had slain his tigers by 
the score, was appealed to on some point con- 
nected with tigers, and to his questioner's aston- 
ishment professed entire ignorance of the subject. 
Pressed privately for his reasons for doing this, 
he replied that he "had found the tiger to 
be a prolific source of falsehood ; that half the 
stories about hunting him were untrue, the other 
half gross exaggerations ; and that therefore he 
deemed it more prudent to hold his tongue." 
Nowadays, however, when the transit between 



TIGER-SHOOTING. 1 9 

England and India has been made so easy, and 
when India is so much more visited and better 
known than formerly (alas ! to the detriment of 
sport, I fear), there is no doubt that in time 
more correct ideas will be formed on the subject. 
Still, I firmly believe that even at present the 
tiger-shooter is surrounded with as great a halo 
of romance and falsehood as the typical Ameri- 
can '^cowboy"; and that could some enterprising 
Anglo-Indian " Tiger Tom " spring up and depict 
the sport in a " Far East " show at Earls Court, 
or some other place of popular resort in the 
metropolis, with a few half-starved tiger cubs, 
deer, &c. (not forgetting the conventional coco- 
nut-tree, which from an English point of view is 
de rigueur in all oriental scenes), he would prove 
a formidable rival to, and meet with as enthu- 
siastic a reception as, " Buffalo Bill." 

As a field for sport, India stands unrivalled, 
and has attractions which no other country pos- 
sesses, for it offers a vast area abounding in va- 
ried and numerous descriptions of game. It has 
climates of different degrees, ranging from the 
snow-clad peaks of the Himalayas to the burning 
plains of the Central Provinces ; the country is 
now traversed by numerous railways, which make 
locomotion far easier than it was even twenty 
years ago, and Anglo-Indians being proverbially 



20 INDIAN SHIKAR. 

given to hospitality, a man with decent introduc- 
tions is passed on from house to house, and in case 
of sickness or accident, medical assistance is com- 
paratively easily obtained at one of the numerous 
civil or military stations which abound. Lastly, 
good sport, and by this I mean big-game shoot- 
ing, can be enjoyed with less expense, and with 
greater personal ease and comfort, than attend 
its pursuit elsewhere. For all these reasons, 
therefore, to the sportsman wishing to avoid the 
rigours and variableness of our English climate, 
and at the same time give full scope to his 
sporting energies, there is no finer field than the 
vast plains, jungles, and mountain-ranges of the 
sunny land of Ind, provided he has the necessary 
time and means at his disposal ; for here he may 
take his pick of a variety of sports, and indulge 
to the top of his bent in any particular one 
for which he may feel inclined. As my topic, 
however, is tiger-shooting pur et simple, I will 
confine my remarks to that particular branch 
of Indian sport, and for the sake of the uniniti- 
ated give a few hints as to the modes and 
manners of its pursuit. 

Let it be premised, however, that our sports- 
man is to a certain extent a lover of nature and 
an admirer of scenery (and what true sportsman 
does not combine both of these qualities ?), for if 



TIGER-SHOOTING. 2 1 

he be neither, half the charm of the sport will be 
lost. Should he be 9, naturalist, even the blankest 
day, as far as his bag is concerned, will hardly 
have been spent in vain, for he will probably have 
witnessed some new phase of jungle life, or have 
become acquainted with the habits, new to him, 
of some bird or beast ; while, if scenery charms 
his eye, he will have unfolded to his gaze such 
beauties of sylvan landscape, such colouring, 
and depths of light and shade, as he could at 
no other time or in any other place see and 
enjoy, and which, could they be faithfully por- 
trayed on canvas, would make the fortune of 
an artist. 

There is a keen and indescribable enjoyment 
in seeing, as all who indulge in the pursuit must 
see, incidents of forest life such as can never be 
witnessed save by a sportsman. What can be 
grander than the sight of a tiger, the monarch of 
the jungle, as he stalks sullenly yet silently along, 
the very personification of muscular and agile 
strength, whilst the beautiful blending of the 
dark stripes with his fluvous hide accord so 
wonderfully with the ground over which he 
moves, and yet stand out in such striking con- 
trast ? What can be more graceful than a herd 
of spotted deer as they graze peacefully amid 
the forest glades, whilst the sunlight, flickering 



22 INDIAN SHIKAR. 

through the leafy canopy above them, falls and 
plays on their dappled hides ? What more gor- 
geous than a magnificent peacock trailing his 
long green and golden tail in all the pride of 
conscious and insolent beauty? What can con- 
vey a greater idea of animal courage, determina- 
tion, and fierce impetuosity than a bristly boar — 
the grandest, perhaps, of all the denizens of the 
jungle — as he trots by champing his ivory tushes ? 
What more ludicrous than the antics of a troupe 
of monkeys, led by some hoary patriarch, with 
his black face and white whiskers, so painfully 
yet ridiculously human ? These and many others, 
which it would take hours to enumerate, will all 
be seen by the tiger-shooter, and pass before him 
as he waits and watches for his feline foe, and 
must, an he be not utterly callous to all the 
marvels of God's great universe, furnish him with 
matter of deep interest and reflection. 

The man who wishes to succeed in tiger-shoot- 
ing — or, indeed, in any branch of big -game 
shooting in India — must, in addition to health, 
strength, and a sound constitution, be endowed 
with the virtues of patience, pluck, endurance, 
and perseverance. These are essential, or success 
will not smile upon his efibrts. Health he must 
have, or he will not stand hard work ; and, with- 
out the latter qualities, he will often be doomed 



TIGER-SHOOTING. 23 

to bitter disappointment. Added to these, and 
perhaps not the least necessary, are temperance 
and good temper — the first absolutely essential, 
the second very nearly so. Without the first a 
man must soon succumb to hard work and ex- 
posure in a tropical climate — for, remember, tiger- 
shooting is generally pursued during the hottest 
months in the year ; without the second, the 
pursuit of tigers, and indeed of all large game, 
will, notwithstanding its numerous fascinations, 
be bereft of half its charms. Let not, then, 
the would-be slayer of tigers imagine that, in the 
pursuit of the sport, everything will be couleur 
de rose, and that he will easily achieve success. 
Far from it. Of course, if he is fortunate enough 
to obtain good introductions, and is invited to 
join the party of an experienced sportsman, his 
path will be considerably smoothed; but even 
then he will meet with trials and disappoint- 
ments. No : tiger-shooting means physical hard 
work combined with experience ; and unless a 
man is prepared to face the former and learn the 
latter, he had far better remain at home. 

Tiger- shooting is popularly believed to be an 
expensive sport. Perhaps it is so to a certain 
extent, just as hunting and shooting are supposed 
to be at home. But then, similarly as these 
vary in the manner in which they are pursued, 



24 INDIAN SHIKAR. 

SO does tiger-shooting. Your hunting man who 
must hunt in the shires, and keep at least a dozen 
hunters and a couple of hacks, or the shooter to 
whom a grouse-moor and well-stocked coverts are 
a positive necessity, both find their favourite sport 
expensive — far more expensive than does the man 
who is content to get his three days a-week off 
a couple of horses in a less fashionable country, 
or he to whom a varied bag of some twenty head 
off a bit of rough ground has more charms than 
hecatombs of hand-reared pheasants. So with 
tiger-shooting. If you are content to do your 
shooting on foot, and, above all, know how to set 
about it, you will not incur the outlay entailed 
by having to beat with a whole army of elephants, 
which, it need not be added, all cost money to 
keep and feed. Still, when all is said, there do 
undoubtedly exist certain unavoidable expenses. 
Imprimisy really good weapons are a sine qud 
non ; for often your own life, as well as the lives 
of others, may depend upon the result of a shot. 

Tents, camp furniture, supplies, beaters, ser- 
vants' wages, young buffaloes and bullocks to be 
used as baits, rewards for information, not to say 
compensation that may have to be paid to the 
family of any injured beater (should such an 
event unfortunately occur — and accidents will 
happen sometimes, however well guarded against), 



TIGER-SHOOTING. 25 

all cost money ; and so, unless a man is prepared 
to expend some £150 to £200 for a two months' 
trip, he had better not think about it. Of course, 
travelling expenses and outfit are not included in 
the above amounts. If the sportsman should be 
on the spot, and already possess tents, &c., the 
expense should be considerably less, the above 
sum being only roughly calculated for a person 
landing in India. It will therefore be seen that 
the outlay necessary for two months of varied 
sport in India is considerably less than that paid 
for a fair grouse-moor in Scotland ; and when the 
game obtainable in each country and its quality 
is contrasted, I think it may fairly be assumed 
that India bears off the palm. 

One or two things should, however, be borne 
in mind by any one contemplating taking part in 
the sport, particularly if it should be his lot to 
direct operations and have the general manage- 
ment of affairs. 

First, he should endeavour that the whole party 
is thoroughly comfortable without running into 
needless expense : by this I mean that he should 
provide ample carriage for the impedimenta 
and creature comforts of himself and his fellow- 
sportsmen. 

Secondly, he should engage the services of a 
thoroughly reliable and high-caste shikari. 



26 INDIAN SHIKAR. 

Thirdly, he should personally superintend the 
payment of the beaters, and men who have 
brought reliable khubber, or news, about tigers. 

Fourthly, he should never allow the beaters to 
go into a bit of jungle for the purpose of turning 
out a tiger known to be wounded. 

Fifthly, he should see that at the outset there 
are ample supplies for the servants and camp- 
followers, as well as horses belonging to the 
party ; and further, that these supplies are re- 
plenished at the first big village passed. 

I will now give my reasons for these suggest- 
ions, attention to which will materially aid in 
achieving success. In a tropical country like 
India, creature comforts, the want of which is 
not so much felt in a less enervating climate, are 
a positive necessity ; and however willing a man 
may be to " rough it," the mere process of doing 
so for any length of time will in the long-run tell 
upon his constitution and energies. I do not for 
a moment mean to say that luxuries of all sorts 
are necessities, nor would I go so far as one writer 
on Indian sport has lately done, and recommend 
the sportsman to carry with him a plentiful supply 
of "bay -rum" for his complexion! But what I 
would suggest is, that a fair supply of wine and 
beer, and a small supply of spirits, with plenty of 
soda-water, tinned vegetables, jam, &c., should be 



TIGER-SHOOTING. 27 

taken. All these will help to eke out and vary 
the scanty jungle-fare with which the party must 
be content, for Indian game, as a rule, is precious 
poor eating. Clothes, boots, bedding, chairs, 
tables, and books (and these latter are a godsend 
during the long hot hours of day which are spent 
in enforced idleness when no sport is obtainable), 
all take up room ; and having the means of making 
one's self comfortable under all circumstances, 
tends much to pass time pleasantly that would 
otherwise prove irksome. 

In a sparsely populated district, hackeries^ as 
native carts are called, are unobtainable; and 
even where they are, their owners are seldom 
wiUing to travel far beyond the limits of their 
own village. For this reason the engaging of a 
herd of Brinjari bullocks and their drivers is 
advisable, the usual charge being seven rupees 
per pair of bullocks per mensem, and some addi- 
tional wages for the owner and his assistant 
drivers. A herd of twenty-four bullocks should 
carry most of the kit of a party of three, of course 
not including tents. 

As much will depend on the head shikari, 
care should be taken to engage only a keen, 
thoroughly reliable man, and, moreover, to engage 
him some months previously. These men are 
much sought after, and are generally well known. 



28 INDIAN SHIKAR. 

Plenty of so-called shikaris are to be had who 
will produce the most flowery testimonials as to 
their abilities — all which have probably been 
manufactured or forged in the bazaar — and who, 
though they may be able to show their employers 
plenty of small game, know about as much of 
tigers and the means of finding out and tracking 
them as the man in the moon. They do not 
know their business, and if found fault with, that 
favourite excuse of the Indian ne'er-do-weel, 
^^ Bhukar aya'' (" IVe got fever"), is pretty sure 
to be forthcoming. The advisability of your 
shikari being a high-caste man arises from the 
fact that in India caste governs everything, and 
has a paramount influence on the native mind. 
A man of good caste will succeed in obtaining 
information and assistance where another of low 
caste would fail ignominiously, even by the use 
of bribes and threats, to obtain an iota of reliable 
intelligence. It is needless to discuss here what 
caste is ; suffice it to say that a beggar may be 
of the highest, whilst a wealthy and prosperous 
man may be of the lowest caste, and that the 
beggar will be more venerated than his brother 
who is more blessed with this world's riches. A 
man must, however, like a poet, be born in any 
particular caste — nascitur non fit. The chief 
difficulty is to get reliable information about 



TIGER-SHOOTINa 29 

tigers in a particular neighbourhood. A great 
many reasons combine to make natives un- 
willing to give such information — pre-eminent 
amongst others being the probability of their 
being made to beat, nolens volens, and getting 
little or no pay for doing so ; and further, that it 
is likely to bring down on their village a large 
encampment of sahibs, to which they are very 
averse, and not without justice. ''For," they 
argue, " the presence of the tiger is better than 
all this concourse of people, who take us away 
from our work, demand from us supplies of grain, 
&c., which we cannot spare, and the use of our 
carts and bullocks, which we want for other and 
more urgent purposes. No ; we will not tell them 
of the tiger ! " Occasions have occurred, and do 
still occur, where villagers have been thus badly 
treated, and there are few well-known resorts of 
tigers where some such story has not been handed 
down amongst the population. Difficulties like 
these an intelligent shikari of high caste, if he is 
worth anything, will be able to overcome, and by 
the exercise of tact and discretion, aided by the 
no less powerful co-operation of caste, wheedle 
and coax information out of the most obdurate 
of villagers. Of course such men are only pro- 
curable by the promise of high wages and the 
Government rewards for all tigers killed. 



30 INDIAN SHIKAR. 

It is decidedly advisable that the payment of 
beaters, &c., should be personally superintended 
by one of the party. If a native is intrusted 
with this, however . trustworthy he may be in 
other respects, some of the coin is sure to stick 
to his palms by the inevitable Indian custom of 
dustoor, and thus the unfortunate beaters get 
mulcted of some of their well-earned pittance. 
The consequence is, that being badly paid, they 
are dissatisfied and grumble, and the only con- 
solation they receive is, ''Sahib hi hookum" ("It 
is the sahiVs order"). They argue, therefore, 
that the sahib is a stingy brute, and spread the 
report accordingly, and the next time sahibs 
visit the neighbourhood beaters are not forth- 
coming. For the same reason men who bring 
good and reliable news of tigers should always 
be rewarded liberally. It is the best policy, 
depend upon it, to be generous, if only from a 
selfish point of view. 

One matter that should be most carefully 
attended to, and a rule that should be most 
rigidly observed, is the fourth point to which I 
have called attention — viz., that never under any 
circumstances should men be sent in to beat for a 
tiger that is known to be wounded. More acci- 
dents to beaters happen from this cause than 
from any other. News travels fast in the East, 



TIGER-SHOOTING. 3 1 

and once a man is mauled, the party employing 
him are pretty sure to get a bad name, and find 
numerous difficulties thrown in their way the 
farther they travel ; and not only will they suffer 
in this respect, but those who may follow them 
also. 

I personally on one occasion experienced a case 
in point. My party had arrived at a place in 
the Nizam of Hyderabad's territory, just on the 
borders of Berar, where we knew of three tigers. 
No amount of inquiry or cajolery on our part 
could, however, extract any information regard- 
ing these tigers from the villagers, till one of 
our party produced an old purwanah from the 
Nizam's Dewan or Prime Minister. The sight 
of this document (though it was several years 
old) had a magical effect, and we were informed 
that two of the tigers were in the vicinity of 
our camp, and not two miles distant. It then 
leaked out that, about a month previous to our 
arrival at the village, a young and inexperienced 
civilian had beaten for these tigers. He had 
fired at one and wounded it ; then had insisted 
on the coolies beating again for it, with the 
result that one poor wretch was killed by the 
wounded animal. The villagers thought, and 
perhaps not unreasonably, that we might pursue 
the same tactics, and so preferred our room to 



32 INDIAN SHIKAR. 

our company. However, we had the satisfaction 
of killing the two remaining tigers, and left the 
place with a different character from that of our 
predecessor. Besides, looked at from a purely 
manly and chivalrous point of view, it cannot be 
denied that it is mean, not to say cowardly, to send 
a lot of poor, half-naked wretches, armed with 
nothing more formidable than sticks, into thick 
jungle to beat for a fierce and dangerous animal, 
rendered doubly so from enduring all the agonies 
of a wound in the scorching heat of day — an 
animal which one would think twice about before 
encountering alone and on foot, though with the 
best arms of precision in one's hands. No ; if a 
tiger is wounded and the party have no elephant 
with them to follow him up on, it should, I think, 
be considered a point of honour amongst them 
to walk him up. A tiger, though he may have 
been comparatively inoffensive previously, when 
he is suffering from a wound becomes a very 
different animal. His temper gets soured, he is 
ever on the look-out to become the aggressor, 
and to resent the approach of man, which he nat- 
urally connects with his wound, by charging and 
severely mauling, even if he does not kill him 
outright. I contend, therefore, that every pos- 
sible precaution should be taken to prevent 
accidents occurring or a wounded tiger being 



TIGER-SHOOTING. 33 

left behind by the party. I am quite aware 
that this contention may by some be deemed 
absurd and quixotic ; but I firmly believe, and I 
think most Indian sportsmen of experience will 
bear me out, that not only in the interests of 
humanity, but of the sport itself, it will prove 
the wisest plan in the long-run to exhaust every 
possible means to account for a tiger known to 
be wounded, even though it may involve giving 
up several days of your trip in the endeavour to 
achieve success. 

The last point to which I would call attention, 
and which is by no means the least important, 
is the advisability of seeing that the supplies for 
native servants and camp-followers — such as the 
rice, ghee (clarified butter), flour, &c. — as well as 
grain for the horses, be replenished at the first 
large village passed. It will frequently occur 
that the sportsman's camp is pitched near some 
wretched little collection of huts in the heart of 
the jungle, dignified by the name of village, the 
inhabitants of which probably only cultivate 
sufficient grain and rice for their own personal 
wants, and who can ill spare any from their 
slender store. When, therefore, the sahibs come 
with their numerous retinue, and demands are 
made for various commodities, the villagers are 
naturally reluctant to supply them, as by so 

VOL, I. c 



34 INDIAN SHIKAR. 

doing they would themselves run short. It 
often happens that they are forced to do so, and 
then the sahib gets a bad name. The news 
spreads rapidly, and once a party gets a name 
for being high-handed or for not being a good 
paymaster, the reputation sticks to sportsmen 
in general. It is the old story of giving a dog a 
bad name ; and not only will they be disappointed 
in the matter of getting news of tigers, but prob- 
ably they will find the next village they visit 
deserted, and neither supplies nor beaters to be 
got. Native servants are notoriously careless in 
this matter of laying in supplies, and it is there- 
fore most necessary that one of the party should 
by personal supervision satisfy himself that this 
point has been properly attended to. It will 
therefore be easily seen that an expedition pro- 
perly organised, and where the sportsmen pro- 
vide their own supplies, &c., will be more likely 
to secure the hearty co-operation of the people 
than one where the reverse is the case, and they 
will flock in to aid in driving the jungle for 
a good sportsman who treats them kindly and 
liberally, and who, they know, will not risk their 
lives unnecessarily, or deprive them of their staple 
articles of existence. 

The methods of hunting tigers may be classed 
under three headings. First, beating with a 



TIGER-SHOOTING. 3 5 

line of elephants and shooting from a howdah. 
Secondly, sitting up in a mSchan, or platform, 
constructed in a tree, either over a bait or a 
pool of water. Thirdly, shooting them on foot 
or from a tree when driven forward by beaters 
to the guns. 

Of the first method, as pursued in the vast 
grass -jungles of the Terai, Lower Bengal, and 
the Doon valley, I have had no personal ex- 
perience, so am not entitled to speak as to its 
advantages with any amount of accuracy. It 
is perhaps the most common mode of pursuing 
the sport, and the one with which the public 
in general is most familiar through hearsay. 
This plan is adopted where the only chance of 
a shot is from the elevated position occupied 
on the back of an elephant, and where the high 
dense grass -jungle prohibits the use of beaters 
or going on foot one's self. Still I do not think 
that this method calls for any great knowledge 
of woodcraft, for a number of sportsmen with 
a long line of elephants may kill tigers (and 
many are so killed) by simply beating on chance 
through any bits of likely covert. Of course 
this necessitates a good deal of snap-shooting 
directly the game is started, the tiger only 
being viewed now and then for a moment as 
he bounds through the long grass. 



36 INDIAN SHIKAR. 

The second method is the one most generally- 
practised by the native shikari, to whom time 
is no object, and who possesses an unlimited 
amount of patience. It is, however, one that 
does not commend itself, as a rule, to the British 
sportsman, though to a lover of nature the lonely 
night-watch (should he be able to keep awake) 
will occasionally offer great attractions, and afford 
him opportunities for observing phases of jungle 
life that he would see at no other time. But 
to most men, even the most ardent, a few nights 
thus spent suffice. Being half bitten to death 
by mosquitoes, besides sitting in a cramped 
position for several hours, with the inability to 
ascertain the result of one's shot till daylight, 
chokes off most men. I will therefore dismiss 
these two methods without further comment, 
and confine my remarks to the last mentioned — 
viz., shooting on foot or from trees, as generally 
practised in Central India, where the teak-forests 
and rocky ravines afford no facilities for beating 
with a line of elephants. 

The locality of a tiger or tigers having been 
ascertained, a young buffalo-calf is tied out as 
a bait during the night. Several of these may 
be picketed in the jungle near haunts that the 
tiger is known to frequent, and may be within 
a radius of some miles from camp. They are 



TIGER-SHOOTING. 37 

visited early in the morning, and if the shikari 
finds that one has been killed he makes a wide 
detour or ring round the spot. If he is unable 
to track the tiger out of this circle, and if, 
moreover, he sees any vultures perched on trees 
in the vicinity of the kill, it may be pretty 
safely conjectured that the tiger is not very 
far off, and is probably laid up for the day, 
sleeping off the effect of his meal. News of 
the kill is then brought to camp, and beaters 
having been collected, the party set out about 
eleven o'clock, when it is very hot. The reason 
of- this is, that tigers are averse to travel far 
in the heat of the day. Tigers have, like many 
other animals, particular paths which they follow, 
and these are well known by the local men, 
whose experience on this point it is generally 
safe to rely on. Trees, or, if there are none 
suitable near at hand, rocks, are then chosen 
as the positions for the different guns to occupy. 
These are called ndkas. A good plan is to have 
a light bamboo ladder which can be easily carried 
and fixed against a tree. You then can stand 
on any rung of the ladder, should no branch 
be handy to sit on. The guns having been 
posted with as little noise as possible, the shikari 
goes back to where the beaters have been formed 
up in line, and on his joining them the beat 



38 INDIAN SHIKAR. 

begins with all the noise capable of being pro- 
duced by some twoscore dusky throats, aided 
by the beating of tom-toms, blowing of horns, 
and all manner of native music. Very often 
the first shout is sufficient to rouse the tiger, 
who moves off quietly and sulkily, and probably 
affords one of the sportsmen a shot. 

And here let me remark that you should 
never fire at a tiger till he is past you. Should 
you do so, there is the chance of turning him 
back on the advancing beaters. If the tiger 
be only wounded, the beaters should, by means 
of a preconcerted signal, be at once withdrawn 
and made to mount trees, whilst the sportsmen 
should follow the animal up on foot, or on an 
elephant, if they are fortunate enough to have 
one with them. This plan will ensure the safety 
of the beaters, and afford them opportunities of 
marking the game down. 

Tiger-shooting on foot is generally condemned on 
account of its attendant danger : doubtless, in the 
case of a solitary sportsman there is danger, very 
great danger, and a man who pursues this method 
systematically is bound sooner or later to come to 
grief; for a man on foot, and in jungle where 
there is an atom of cover large enough to conceal 
a tiger (and it is marvellous how they do conceal 
themselves, even from the keenest vision), has but 



TIGER-SHOOTING. 39 

little if any chance with an animal bent on kill- 
ing him. Many of the tigers said to have been 
shot on foot are in reality killed from trees, but 
still many are undoubtedly killed fairly on foot. 
Of course, in doing this there are great risks ; but 
if proper precautions are taken, if the sportsmen 
keep well together, and are cool and collected, it 
is not the insane suicidal sort of amusement it is 
popularly supposed to be. A tiger is by nature 
a cowardly animal, and unless he be wounded or 
finds his retreat cut ofi*, will seldom go out of his 
way to attack man. If he is wounded, though, 
it is quite another thing ; at such times he will 
not hesitate to charge, but even then he seldom 
makes good his charge against three or four 
determined meii armed with breech-loaders. He 
fears man more than anything else, and though 
he will charge pluckily enough, to all appearances, 
he generally shows an inclination to shirk the 
last few yards, trusting to his terrible coughing 
roar to intimidate his foes. 

With regard to this habit of the tiger of roar- 
ing in his charge, or when suddenly surprised, it 
is no doubt an element in his favour ; for no man 
who has not heard it under similar circumstances 
can conceive the intense amount of nervousness 
it generates, even in the stoutest heart, when 
heard for the first time. Of course there have 



40 INDIAN SHIKAR. 

been instances in which tigers have made good 
their charge on several cool and determined 
sportsmen, whereby one of their number has 
suffered ; but these have been the exception, and 
have been effected by tigers probably cursed 
with a more than usually fiendish temperament, 
and who perhaps, by experience, have learnt to 
know that man is not, after all, the terrible crea- 
ture the feline mind thinks him to be. These 
exceptions go far to prove the rule, that in nine 
out of ten cases tigers will not, in spite of all 
their bounce, charge right up to a compact and 
firm body of men. 

No doubt all these methods of pursuing the 
sport have their advantages as well as their 
champions, but to my mind the death of one 
tiger shot on foot seems worth a dozen shot 
from an elephant. Perhaps I may be prejudiced 
through ignorance, and not entitled to give an 
opinion ; but it seems to me somehow more sport- 
ing, more exciting, and more satisfactory in every 
way, to know that you have personally worked 
hard to encompass the death of your enemy, that 
you have met him on equal terms, stood up to 
and vanquished him. It must not be thought 
that I am sneering at or decrying tiger-shooting 
from a howdah : far from it. In many instances 
elephants are a positive necessity. I merely say 



TIGER-SHOOTING. 41 

that to my mind, and to that of many other 
sportsmen of far greater experience than myself, 
killing your tiger on foot, with two or three 
comrades, is better fun, affords more sport, and 
is more satisfactory in every respect, than killing 
him with the aid of some twenty elephants and a 
dozen sportsmen, some of whose shooting on such 
occasions is apt to be just a little bit wild ! 

It is true, certainly, that a tiger will sometimes 
make good his charge, and actually effect a lodg- 
ment on an elephant's back or head (generally 
the latter) — in fact, one such experience I per- 
sonally underwent ; but, as I said before, as a 
rule they funk the last few yards of their charge 
if received boldly, and if even they do make it 
good, it is the unfortunate and unarmed mahout 
who runs the greatest risk, not the sportsman in 
the howdah. 

The characters of tigers vary considerably, and 
may be roughly classed into those which prey 
principally on game, those which live on domestic 
cattle, and those which, for their preference for 
human flesh as an article of diet, come to be 
known as ^' man-eaters." It must not, however, 
be supposed that any particular tiger confines 
himself strictly to one sort of prey — he takes 
probably what fortune sends in his way ; but 
there are undoubtedly a large number who seem 



42 INDIAN SHIKAR. 

to prefer the two former articles of diet, and a 
few — fortunately comparatively few — that select 
the latter. 

The regular game - killer is a shy and wary 
animal, retiring in his habits, and avoiding the 
presence of man. He generally selects as his 
haunt some secluded spot among the hills or in 
a rocky ravine, where pools of water remain in 
the hot weather, and cool caves or overhanging 
rocks afford him shelter from, the fierce rays of 
the sun. He is lightly made, very active and en- 
during as well as cunning, and for these reasons 
somewhat difficult to bag. 

Far different is the known cattle-killer, which 
is usually an older and heavier animal, averse 
to much exertion. In the hot weather he usually 
takes up his residence near a village, in thick 
covert close to water, from whence he can easily 
sally forth to attack the herds of village cattle 
as they come to drink ; in the cold weather he 
follows a herd as they go to graze in the jungle, 
and where the high green grass affords him ample 
facilities for stalking them whilst they feed. He 
is careless of man from coming constantly in 
contact with him, though to a certain extent 
his innate cowardice prevails, and numerous in- 
stances are on record of a cattle-killer having 
been driven off his prey and ignominiously put to 



TIGER-SHOOTINa. 43 

flight by no more formidable adversary than a little 
native cowherd - boy armed with a stout stick ! 
Favourably situated coverts generally hold one 
or more such tigers during the hot weather ; and, 
oddly enough, if one season all the occupants are 
killed, the next one others will have taken their 
place. It is for these tigers that buffalo-calves 
are tied out as baits ; and, cruel as it may seem 
to do this, there is no doubt that the death of 
a tiger saves much more suffering than is caused 
to the animal sacrificed to effect the purpose. 

" Man - eaters " are, happily, rare ; for where 
one exists it becomes a regular scourge, the 
population for miles round being afraid to pursue 
their usual avocations, or to stir out unless in 
large bodies, in case any should fall a victim to 
the dreaded animal. What the cause may be of 
a tiger becoming a man-eater can only be a 
matter of conjecture, but the animal is often an 
old one and a tigress. Various theories have 
been adduced to prove why a tiger should become 
a habitual eater of human flesh ; but the most 
probable one is, that such an animal having 
become decrepit, either from old age or from 
wounds, is unable to procure its ordinary food, 
and so, finding that the killing of man is a com- 
paratively easy task, takes to this method of 
obtaining its meat. Man-eaters are invariably 



44 INDIAN SHIKAR. 

most cunning, and seldom frequent the same 
locality for any length of time. Here to-day, 
they will be miles away to-morrow, and though 
having apparently so far overcome their in- 
stinctive fear of man as to attack him unpro- 
voked, they seem to possess a wonderful amount 
of sagacity in discriminating between an armed 
man and a defenceless victim. Why the offenders 
should so frequently be females it is difficult to 
explain. Perhaps when troubled with the cares 
of a family they find it hard to obtain food by 
ordinary means, and so take to the more per- 
nicious but more easily accomplished method of 
killing man. There is a popular fallacy that a 
man-eater has a mangy skin, and this has been 
attributed to its diet ; but I do not know of a 
single instance, nor have I ever read of one on 
reliable authority, where this has been found to 
be the case, two man - eaters that I knew of 
having beautifully bright glossy skins. I believe 
that the origin of the fable arose from the fact 
that, as I said before, many man-eaters are old 
animals, and that with increasing years their 
skins become paler in colour, and the black 
stripes less distinctly marked. This may at first 
sight give them the appearance of being mangy. 

I will now conclude by asking the reader to 
accompany me to the jungle, where for his edifi- 



TIGER-SHOOTING . 4 5 

cation, and in his imaginary company, we will 
endeavour to find and kill a tiger that will show 
us some sport. 

We will suppose that it is a burning hot day 
during the first week in April, and that our 
camp is pitched near a village, and in the cool 
shadowy depths of a grove of mango-trees. It is 
about nine o'clock in the morning, and we are 
sitting outside our tent in the pleasant desliabille 
of shirt, slippers, and pyjamas, topping up our 
breakfast with a bowl of that excellent compound, 
" mango fool." As the last mouthful is finished, 
and we are preparing to light our pipes, the 
sight of a dusky figure advancing across the 
maidan (or plain) attracts our attention. His 
quick pace denotes that the man is the bearer of 
good news ; and so he is, for on reaching us he 
salaams, and says, with an air of satisfaction, 
" Ghara hua/' which may be interpreted as 
meaning " There has been a kill." Further in- 
terrogation discloses the fact that he has been 
despatched by our shikari, Lutchman, to. inform 
us that there has been a " kill " at a spot some 
six miles distant, that he has marked the tiger 
down, and that he is collecting beaters who will 
be all ready on our arrival. We are also to mind 
and bring a few fireworks with us. Giving the 
bearer of this pleasant news a slight gratuity, we 



46 INDIAN SHIKAR. 

dismiss him for the present, and are soon busy 
seeing that our rifles, lunch, and chaguls (leathern 
water-bottles), are sent on, also the elephant ; for 
we are lucky enough to have one with us, which, 
though perhaps not staunch enough to shoot 
from, is sure to prove useful in turning the tiger 
out of any extra thick piece of covert. This 
done, we proceed leisurely to don our shikar 
clothes, which consist of short jacket and breeches 
made of a fine sort of canvas (called chovsoothee), 
and sambhur-skin boots. We then mount our 
ponies or horses and proceed to the spot, which 
we reach about eleven o'clock. Here we find 
Lutchman, who awaits us with a grin on his 
swarthy countenance, which denotes that he has 
made a good handohast or arrangement. The 
place where the tiger has been marked down is a 
little ravine that, running down from some low 
rocky hills, debouches into a river-bed, now dry 
with the exception of occasional pools of water 
dotted here and there. Between these, large 
patches of jow andjd,mAn bushes, interspersed 
with rank coarse grass, spring from the sandy 
soil and afford good cover. As we near the spot, 
Lutchman points with satisfaction to a number 
of vultures congregated on some bare trees half- 
way up the ravine and overlooking it. A slight 
consultation ensues between him and the local 



TIGER-SHOOTING. 47 

shikaris, and then the beaters are sent round by 
a circuitous route to beat the ravine down from 
the top, whilst you and I are to guard it lower 
down some hundred yards from its point of 
junction with the river. Your ndka is a large 
rock on the left-hand bank, whilst I occupy a 
tree some fifty yards inland on the opposite side. 
And now keep quite stiU. You may have to 
wait half an hour or more, but your patience will 
be rewarded, I promise you. Hark ! Now, look 
out, for the beat has begun, and that pandemo- 
nium of sound, as it floats down on the hot noon- 
tide breeze, will soon have our game on foot. Ah ! 
what was that rustle on the dead leaves just below 
you ? Only a peacock, or maybe some jungle- 
fowl. They are always the first to move, you 
know. There ! that sudden rush must be the 
tiger coming you think, and you feel your pulses 
throb and catch your breath with excitement. 
No ; it is only a chital, or spotted deer, rushing 
madly forward, frightened by the discordant din. 
The lord of the jungle moves much more quietly, 
I can assure you. Then a black bear comes lum- 
bering along with its ungainly form and shambling 
gait. Your rifle will cover it instinctively, I know, 
and you long to let drive at Ursus lahiatus ; but 
remember, we agreed to fire at nothing but tiger, 
so Bruin escapes this time. Never mind, we will 



48 INDIAN SHIKAR. 

look him up to-morrow. Nearer and nearer comes 
the sound of the advancing beaters, and you begin 
to think Lutchman's handohast is perhaps not 
quite so good as he fancies, and that there is no 
tiger here, when suddenly, as if it had sprung 
from the ground, so stealthy and noiseless has 
been its approach, a magnificent tiger stands 
before you ! 

Yes, there he is, as large as life, standing quite 
motionless, with the exception of a slight tremu- 
lous twitching of the point of his tail, betokening 
that he is not over and above pleased at having 
his mid-day siesta thus disturbed. His ears are 
pricked, and as he stands there looking back over 
his shoulder, whilst the sunlight falls on his bright 
chestnut-and-black-striped hide, tell me if he is 
not a sight worth looking at — the ideal of a beau- 
tiful animal, of agile muscular strength and 
beauty ? Don't move now, whatever you do. 
He is apparently satisfied that he had better 
move on, and with an upward curl of his lips, 
which he sweeps with a great red tongue, he 
slouches sullenly on towards you. Now, now ! 
he is past you, and not twenty yards distant. 
You can't miss, so aim just behind his shoulder, 
and good luck to you. 

Bang ! " Wough, wough." You Ve hit him 
right enough, for, see, he flinched at the shot and 



TIGER-SHOOTING. 49 

half tumbled over, sending the dust and dead 
leaves flying. But quick ! let him have your left 
barrel. Ah ! that was a miss, for I saw the bullet 
splinter the bark of yonder tree. You shot over 
him. Now he has plunged into the ravine, and 
is scrambling up in my direction ; but don't fire, 
for he is in a line with me, and I have no wish to 
be the recipient of your attentions ! Confound 
him ! he will pass the wrong side of me, stuck up 
as I am in this beastly tree (how I wish we had 
brought the ladder !). I can only fire to my left, 
and he is circling round to my right. He looks 
sick, though. No doubt he is, with your 12-bore 
bullet in him. I must risk a shot from my left 
shoulder, so here goes. Bang ! and I am nearly 
knocked off my perch. I thought so, a clean miss, 
and no more acknowledgment of my politeness 
than an angry grunting roar, as he gallops on and 
disappears over a little rocky ridge to my right. 

Now come on and join me, and we will see if 
there are any traces of blood. In the meantime 
I will blow my whistle, which is the signal for 
Lutchman to get the beaters out of harm's way 
and bring up the elephant, for I'm morally certain 
you hit the tiger with your first shot. Yes, all 
right. I told you so. Look at those drops of 
blood on the dead leaves as he came towards me, 
and there on that flat stone you will see a larger 

VOL. I. D 



50 INDIAN SHIKAR. 

patch. Lutchman, as he comes up and we point 
out these signs, sagely remarks, with a grin, 
" Golee Jcya, sahib'' (" He has eaten the bullet, 
sir''). 

And now our fun is about to begin, for he is 
not very badly wounded, and it is such a hot day, 
and the ground is so rocky, he won't go very far, 
and is bound to lie up soon, and then — then he'll 
show fight; so keep your weather eye open and 
shoot straight. 

Lutchman has brought with him some half- 
dozen beaters, including the three local shikaris ; 
so with Lutchman carrying my spare rifle, and 
Kissim acting as your gun - bearer, we form 
quite a respectable posse, and quite enough to 
deter most tigers from making a more intimate 
acquaintance with us. Keeping all together, we 
take up the tracks, one of the local men leading, 
whilst we cover his advance with cocked rifles. 
After a little distance the blood ceases, and 
tracking becomes difficult. The local men, how- 
ever, are equal to the occasion. A scratch on a 
stone, a broken blade of grass, a crushed leaf, are 
all signs intelligible enough to them ; so we carry 
on the trail, which leads along a rocky slope> 
Then the blood ceases, and tracking becomes 
most difficult, till at last it can be carried no 
farther. Holloa ! what is all that row some two 



TIGER-SHOOTING. 5 1 

hundred yards ahead ? A troop of the large 
Hanumd,n monkeys are legging up the trees, 
where, nimbly climbing to the topmost branches, 
they shake them violently, pouring forth a torrent 
of abuse in monkey language. You will notice it 
is quite different from their usual cry — a sort of 
sharp angry bark, denoting intense alarm ; and 
well they may feel this, for probably our friend 
is sneaking along and heading towards the river. 
Thank you. Messieurs les singes; we'll owe you 
one for this good turn. And now come along, 
for we will hit the trail again. Yes, here you 
are. See ! there are pug-marks on that little 
dusty bit of soil, and lower down on the river- 
bed they are plain enough, leading into that large 
patch of jow. Taking a ring round, we satisfy 
ourselves that the tiger has not left the cover ; 
and then the services of the elephant are called 
into play, whilst we station ourselves on a rock 
at the far end, with our little band behind us. 
The elephant has not traversed a quarter of the 
covert when, with a loud ^^whr-e-w," he curls 
up his trunk, turns tail, and bolts. The cur ! it 
is just as well we did not try shooting off him. 
At the same time, with an angry roar the tiger 
charges out towards us across a spit of sand, his 
tail on end, and looking very fierce. It is all 
brag, however, on his part ; the intervening open 



52 INDIAN SHIKAR. 

space and the compact body of men he sees deter 
him, and he turns off to a smaller patch of covert, 
saluted en passant by our four barrels. A brace 
of hits ; for, see, he flinches, though, recovering 
himself, he disappears again into thick cover. 
The refuge he has now gained is a small patch 
of jd,md,n-bushes and rank yellow grass below the 
sloping river-bank, and separated from it by an 
open stretch of sand and rocks some forty yards 
across. We consult, and come to the conclusion 
that we will stand on the bank, and get the 
coolies to pelt him from above. No sooner 
decided than we carry out our plan. The first 
volley of stones has no effect. Happy thought ! 
let us try one of those fireworks that we brought 
with us. As the missile goes hissing and splut- 
tering into the covert it produces our friend at 
once, and out he comes with a roar, full of spite, 
hatred, and malice. He means coming on this 
time, for the pain of his wounds and the heat are 
telling on him, and he won't stand any more 
bullying. Is he not a grand sight as he charges 
forward, with his whiskers standing out and 
every hair on end, making him look even more 
gigantic than he is, whilst he gives vent to those 
terror-striking roars ? But we are in an almost 
impregnable position, and four shots ring out in 
quick succession. As we turn for our second 



TIGEB-SHOOTING. 5 3 

guns and the smoke clears away, we see our foe 
kicking convulsively on the sand, biting his fore- 
paw with savage and impotent rage. Quick now ! 
let us give him a couple more shots. There, that 
has finished him ; for, see, his limbs relax, his 
head droops, the blood trickles slowly out on to 
the thirsty soil, and — you have killed your first 
tiger. Hurrying down, we pelt the carcass 
with a few stones to make quite sure life is 
extinct ; that fact having been ascertained, we 
run the tape over our prize. " Nine feet six 
inches " is the record ; and so, more Britannico, 
we shake each other by the hand and offer 
mutual congratulations on having had such a 
good scuffle. 

And then we open the tiffin-basket and pro- 
ceed to refresh the inner man ; and don't we just 
enjoy that cool glass of beer, or claret-and-soda, 
that goes hissing down our parched throats ! and 
don't we just go through all the incidents of the 
day's sport over again ! and you, when you write 
home, will give a glowing description of your 
first tiger-hunt ; and when years have sped, and 
you have probably settled down to humdrum 
country life, and sit of an evening in your " den," 
when your eyes rest on that tiger's skin, won't 
you just shoot him over and over again, and take 
a pleasure in relating the incidents connected with 



54 INDIAN SHIKAR. 

his death to each succeeding olive-branch? I 
trow you will. 

Yes, it is a grand sport, and must, as long as 
life lasts, remain graven on the memory of him 
who has once taken part in it ; and though to 
read, the hunting of one tiger is much like 
another, and each bears a certain resemblance, 
yet a different set of incidents mark each day's 
sport in the hunter's memory, who vividly pictures 
to himself the circumstances attending the death 
of each particular animal, long long after the 
remembrance of many other and more important 
incidents of his life have faded away and become 
blotted out. Yes, it is worth going in for, if only 
for the pleasure of feasting on the recollections of 
days that are no more ; and as such, let me re- 
commend it, both for its past and present enjoy- 
ment, to all who may ever have an opportunity 
of indulging in the sport ; and may they " have 
good luck and good sport to the fore." 



55 



CHAPTER III. 

THE MEASUREMENTS AND WEIGHTS OF TIGERS. 

The question of what tigers measure is a fruitful 
subject of discussion with all Indian sportsmen, 
and one, moreover, which is fraught with no small 
amount of interest. I purpose therefore, in this 
chapter, devoting a few pages towards detailing 
some little evidence that I have been able to 
collect which bears upon it. Indian sportsmen 
of past generations were unfortunately credited 
with a certain amount of exaggeration, and even 
naturalists were not exempt from the charge. Of 
late years, however, more particular attention has 
been paid to actual measurements, and it has 
been deemed necessary to have facts and author- 
ities recorded to verify statements. But even 
reliable authorities differ to a marvellous extent, 
and as examples I will note down a few statistics 
that I have been able to collect. 

Hornaday, in * Two Years in the Jungle,' gives 



56 INDIAN SHIKAR. 

the measurement of a tiger he shot in Southern 
India (in the Wynaad jungles, I think) as 9 feet 
8^ inches ; weight, 495 lb. 

In 1889, Sir Samuel Baker shot one in Central 
India measuring 9 feet 7 inches, and weighing 
443 lb. 

Colonel Kinloch, in his * Large Game of Thibet,' 
states that "very few tigers exceed 10 feet in 
length, and most are under 9 feet 6 inches." 

Mr F. A. Shillingford, the well-known shikari 
in Eastern Bengal, shot one measuring 9 feet 10 
inches, weighing 520.8 lb. 

" Rohilla," in the ' Field,' records one of 9 
feet 8^ inches, shot in the North-West Prov- 
inces. 

" Waltein," in the same journal, mentions one 
of 9 feet 11^ inches, shot in Bengal, I think. 

Jerdon gives the average length of male tigers 
as from 9 feet to 9 feet 6 inches, though he admits 
some may reach a length of 10 feet, " and perhaps 
some have been killed a few inches over that ; " 
and he adds that the greatest authentic length 
he knows of is from 10 feet 2 inches to 10 feet 
3 inches. 

The late Mr G. P. Sanderson, of elephant fame, 
in * Thirteen Years amongst the Wild Beasts of 
India,' says his experience points to 9 feet 6 inches 
as the maximum length of any tiger he shot. 



MEASUREMENTS AND WEIGHTS OF TIGEES. 57 

This animal, which was well fed and in good con- 
dition, weighed 349^ lb. 

Colonel Gordon-Cumming, in *Wild Men and 
Wild Beasts,' gives the average of "four fine 
stout tigers'' as 9 feet 6^ inches. 

Mr A. G. Macdonald, of the Bengal Service, a 
man who has killed and seen killed as many tigers 
as most men, in a private letter informs me that 
the biggest tiger he ever saw " fairly measured " 
was 10 feet 5 inches. 

Mr Baker, in ' Sport in Bengal,' alluding to 
Jerdon's remarks, observes that he underesti- 
mates the length of tigers, adding, '^ That while 

10 feet may be accepted as the length of a fine 
tiger of the plains, 10 feet 3 inches is not rare, 
nor 10 feet 6 inches unheard of" He records his 
largest as 10 feet 4 inches. 

General Rice, in * Tiger -Shooting,' gives the 
measurements of tigers shot in Central India as 

11 feet to 12 feet, and gives an average of males 
as 11 feet 8^ inches. 

Captain Williamson, in that quaintly illustrated 
work, * Oriental Field Sports,' published in the 
beginning of the century, alluding to the length 
that tigers are said often to attain to, says : 
" However, in such frequency of monstrous 
growth, I will venture to assert that nine in ten 
[tigers] do not measure 10 feet from tip of the 



58 INDIAN SHIKAR. 

nose to tip of the tail." At the same time he 
mentions a tiger killed on the Cossimbazaar 
Island, which, he says, "was 13 feet and a few 
inches " ! Whether the " inches " amounted to 
one or 11 is left in doubt, however. 

The late Rev. J. G. Woods, in 'Natural His- 
tory,' alleges that the famous fighting tiger 
" Jungla" measured 13 feet 6 inches, though he 
omits to state how such an animal had his 
measurements taken whilst alive ! 

Mr R. A. Sterndale and Captain Baldwin both 
state that a tiger rarely exceeds 10 feet in length. 

Bufibn mentions one of 15 feet, whilst Sir 
Joseph Fayrer, in his book ' The Koyal Tiger of 
Bengal : his Life and Death,' asserts that '' the 
full-grown Indian tiger may be said to measure 
from 9 feet to 12 feet," but that he would only 
accept with " the greatest hesitation the recorded 
statement that Hyder Ali presented to the Nawdb 
of Arcot a tiger that measured 1 8 feet " ! Either 
there must have been giants amongst tigers in 
those days, or else, like all Eastern legends, 
this " recorded statement " must have been well 
flavoured with the salt of exaggeration, so dear 
to the oriental mind. 

In his book, * Sport in Eastern Bengal,' Mr 
Frank B. Simson, a man as well known in North- 
amptonshire with hounds as he was with spear 



MEASUREMENTS AND WEIGHTS OF TIGERS. 59 

and rifle after hog and tiger in India, states that 
no tiger killed by him measured more than 11 
feet. He further quotes Sir Joseph Fayrer's 
opinion, as recorded in * Nature ' of 1878, in which 
that eminent authority states that, after a careful 
comparison of accounts, he has come to the con- 
clusion that anything over 10 feet is very large, 
but that tigers may exceed 10 feet 3 inches, and 
that in a very few rare and exceptional cases 11 
feet and even 12 feet have been recorded. Mr 
Simson further quotes an instance of a tiger in 
whose death he participated with Mr C. Shilling- 
ford, and though the skin measured 12 feet, all 
who were present when the animal was skinned 
declared it was over 11 feet. Mr Simson adds, 
however, that when alive the animal did not 
seem abnormally large to him, and declines to 
believe he was even 11 feet long. 

In the * Oriental Sporting Magazine' of 1872, 
a writer, under the initials of " M. G. G.,'' gives, 
amongst others, the length of two of the largest 
tigers he ever shot — viz., one of 10 feet 1 inch, 
whose skin measured 11 feet 4 inches, and one 
of 9 feet 8 inches. In the same magazine another 
writer, ''Twelve Bore," records the death of a 
tiger "measuring, as he lay dead, 9 feet 10^ 
inches." 

In ' Baily's Magazine ' for 1873, a naval officer. 



60 INDIAN SHIKAR. 

F. W. Bennett by name, records having been 
present when a tiger was harpooned from a boat 
whilst swimming in the sea near Singapore, 
which weighed 327 lb., and measured only 8 feet 
6 inches. 

In the * Oriental Sporting Magazine,' vol. ii.. 
No. 2, Old Series, a writer, signing himself 
" Rifle,'' records of a tiger shot in Assam, " that 
it measured, before being skinned, 12 feet 1 
inch." 

Having collected this evidence, I submitted it 
to Sir Joseph Fayrer, and had a long conversa- 
tion with him on the subject. From this I gath- 
ered that he agreed with Jerdon to the extent 
that the length of tigers measured fairly varied 
from 9 feet 6 inches to 10 feet 3 inches, and 
that this was their average length ; but he added 
that the occurrence of tigers over 10 feet 3 inches 
(the authenticity of which has been doubted) 
was attested by the evidence of several compe- 
tent observers, who were quite aware that the 
measurements of the animal should be taken as 
he fell, and before he was despoiled of his skin, 
and whose evidence he had been at some trouble 
to collect and obtain. This evidence, added to 
his own personal experiences in Bengal, Oudh, 
and Nepaul, he considered conclusive, and that 
the evidence Jerdon required of tigers of a 



MEASUREMENTS AND WEIGHTS OF TIGERS. 61 

greater length than 10 feet 3 inches, and even 
up to 12 feet, was forthcoming. 

This evidence I cannot do better than repro- 
duce in a condensed form from an able article 
that Sir Joseph contributed to ' Nature,' and to 
which he referred me for further information. 
In this article, after a prelude, he brings to bear 
his whole artillery of facts on sceptics ; and I, for 
one, have gone down under such a salvo of irref- 
utable evidence, and must lower my sword and 
crave for quarter. 

This evidence is compiled from the personal 
observation of sportsmen — all well-known men, 
mind, whose word could be relied on, and who 
would scorn to exaggerate. 

1. Sir J. F. Yule, K.C.S.L, Bengal Civil Ser- 
vice, states that he has killed tigers of 11 feet 
odd inches twice or thrice, and that though he 
never had the luck to meet with one measurinor 
12 feet, he sees no reason why they should not 
attain that size. 

2. Colonel George Boileau, Bengal Army, says 
he killed a tiger at Mutearah, in Oudh, that was 
well over 12 feet he/ore the skin was removed; 
adding that he was of quite an exceptional size, 
and, in his experience of seventeen years' con- 
stant hunting, he had never seen his equal. 

3. Colonel J. Sleeman, Bengal Army, states 



62 INDIAN SHIKAR. 

that he never remembers killing a tiger over 10 
feet 6 inches measured in his skin, though he has 
seen several skins varying from 1 1 feet 6 inches 
to over 12 feet.^ 

4. Colonel J. Macdonald, Bengal Army, Rev- 
enue Survey, says that out of seventy tigers 
that he measured, the biggest was only 10 feet 
4 inches, and that out of all these seventy only 
three reached 10 feet. The heaviest male tiger 
he ever weighed was 448 lb., the heaviest tigress 
242 lb. 

5. The Hon. R. Drummond, Bengal Civil Ser- 
vice, late Commissioner of Rohilkund, says he 
never saw a 12-foot tiger, though he shot one of 
1 1 feet 9 inches, measured as he lay on the ground 
before being padded. 

6. Mr F. B. Simson, Bengal Civil Service (whom 
I quoted in a former page, and who has shot 
some 180 tigers), quotes his two biggest tigers 
as 10 feet 11 inches, and 10 feet 4 inches; and 
though he never actually saw one measured ex- 
ceeding these dimensions, yet professes his belief 
that instances of tigers measuring in a few rare 
and exceptional cases 1 1 feet, and even 1 2 feet, 
have been recorded. 

7. Major-General Sir H. Green, K.C.S.I., C.B., 

1 This can hardly be considered a fair test, as skins may be un- 
duly stretched. — J. M. B. 



MEASUREMENTS AND WEIGHTS OF TIGEES. 63 

Bombay, says that the biggest tiger he ever as- 
sisted in killing was one shot near Surat in 1848, 
which was 1 1 feet 1 1 inches, measured as it lay, 
and whose skin when pegged out was 12 feet 4 
inches. Sir H. Green shot one himself which meas- 
ured 10 feet 11 inches. He adds : " I heard by last 
mail from Claude Clerk, at Hyderabad, who said 
he had just killed to his own gun the biggest 
tiger he had ever seen, as it measured 11 feet 6 
inches before skinning." Sir H. Green concludes 
by expressing his belief that, though they must 
be very rare, tigers of 12 feet and over do exist. 

8. Colonel D. G. Stewart writes that he never 
saw or heard of a hondjlde 12-foot tiger measuring 
that length as he lay in his skin, and that the larg- 
est he ever saw was 1 1 feet and ^ inch. He had 
personally measured some eighty tigers. Colonel 
Stewart adds that he saw at San Francisco the 
skin of a Chinese tiger, beautifully proportioned 
as to length and breadth, which in life might 
have measured 12 feet. In India, however, he 
never saw anything approaching it. He adds that 
in the Central Provinces of India the tigers aver- 
age from 10 feet 6 inches to 10 feet 8 inches.^ 

9. The Hon. Sir H. Ramsay, K.C.S.I., C.B., 

^ Good i^x>rtsinan as Colonel Stewart was, I think he rather over- 
shoots the mark here about Central Indian tigers — I mean as regards 
their average length. — J. M. B. 



64 INDIAN SHIKAR. 

Commissioner of Kumaon, records his biggest 
tiger as 10 feet 5 inches, and considers anything 
over 10 feet large. He says he has heard of Ben- 
gal tigers measuring 12 feet ; and that " a friend, 

G , told me that his father, a Bengal civilian, 

had shot one measuring 12 feet 4 inches." 

10. Mr C. Shillingford, a Purneah indigo- 
planter, a well-known shikari, and a personal 
friend of Sir Joseph Fayrer, one in whose com- 
pany he had shot a great deal, and whose experi- 
ence extended over thirty-five years, during which 
period he shot more than two hundred tigers, 
says that in 1849 he shot the largest tiger he 
had ever seen, and which, measured as he fell, 
proved 12 feet 4 inches. This tiger .was very 
old, with short hair and light in colour. Mr 
Shillingford shot another of 11 feet 10 inches, 
and in 1855 one of 11 feet 4 inches. He shot 
several varying from 10 feet 6 inches to 10 feet ; 
but he adds that " the majority of tigers seldom 
exceed 10 feet, and many are only 9 feet 8 inches 
to 9 feet 10 inches." 

1 1 . Mr Gumming says he shot a few over 1 1 
feet : one at Rohinipore of 1 1 feet 4 inches ; one at 
Kaliastrich, in 1865, of 11 feet 2 inches; and one 
at Gour, in 1871, 11 feet 2 inches. Mr Gumming 
states that he has seen the claw-marks of a tiger 
on the trunk of a tree 18 feet from the ground. 



MEASUREMENTS AND WEIGHTS OP TIGERS. 65 

and adds that men who have only shot tigers in 
hills and rocky places are difficult to convince of 
the existence of these very large tigers, as hill- 
tigers are of a different class, and seldom grow 
large. ^ 

12. Major (now Sir) E. Bradford, K.C.S.I., says 
the largest tiger he ever saw was 1 feet 5 inches. 

13. Colonel C. Martin, Central India Horse, 
says he shot a 10-foot tiger at Putulghur, and 
alludes to a large tiger shot by Mr White near 
Goona, which was measured by Mr Angelo, who 
stated that it was 12 feet 4 inches from tip of 
the nose to tip of the tail. These measurements 
were recorded in the 'Delhi Gazette.' They 
were evidently inaccurate, however, as Colonel 
Martin in a subsequent letter says : *' White's 

^ This is certainly the case. Hill-tigers are usually bulky 
animals, but with shorter tails, and more ^^ cobby" than their 
brethren of the plains. Of the sportsmen to whom Mr Gumming 
refers, I must say I was one, and this probably influenced the 
opinions I had formed. The fact, however, of a tiger's claw-marks 
being found 18 feet from the ground on the trunk of a tree, is no 
test as to the size of the animal itself. All the cat tribe sharpen 
their claws on the trunks of trees, and use the rough bark as a sort 
of " claw-pick '* to remove any particle of decayed flesh that in the 
process of tearing their prey may have adhered to their claws. 
Tigers, like cats, are also fond of springing up a tree-trunk in play, 
and instances have even been recorded, though rarely, of tigers 
climbing trees, though this is a common habit of panthers, another 
of the feline tribe. I myself saw a tiger once spring up a tree- 
trunk to a height of 20 feet in sheer rage, after being fired at 
and wounded. Yet this animal when dead only measured 9 feet 
6 inches. — J. M, B, 

VOL. I. E 



66 INDIAN SHIKAR. 

tiger, which I had always thought was 12 feet 4 
inches, is no longer to be relied on for scientific 
inquiry, though it probably exceeded 10 feet.^ 

14. Lieutenant J. Ferris, Bombay Army, who 
shot a great deal in Oudh, Nepaul,'and the Cen- 
tral Provinces, says that the largest tiger he 
knew of was one shot in 1873 in Nepaul, which 
measured 10 feet 4 inches; the biggest he shot 
himself, also in Nepaul, was 10 feet 2 inches, 
and he adds : " He was considered a monster. 
The tigers in Lower Bengal may be larger, in 
the Central Provinces they are certainly smaller. 
It depends a great deal on how the tiger is 
measured." 

15. General Ramsay, Bengal Army, mentions 
having shot a tiger in conjunction with that 
fine old sportsman Colonel Stewart, who died at 
Benares. The skin when removed was 12 feet 
from tip to tip. This tiger was not found for 
several days after being wounded, and when dis- 
covered was dying from loss of blood and star- 
vation.2 General Ramsay adds that 10 feet 6 
inches is a very fair-sized tiger. He quotes his 
friend Colonel H. Shakespeare as having shot two 
tigers which measured 11 feet 8 inches and 11 

^ This is an example of how mistakes, however unintentional, do 
occur at times. — J. M. B. 

^ Here is another mere skin measurement, which is no real test 
of size. — J. M. B. 



MEASUREMENTS AND WEIGHTS OF TIGERS. 67 

feet 6 inches, and concludes by expressing his 
belief that tigers of 12 feet and over do exist, 
though they are very rare. 

16. Sir Charles Reid, K.C.B., informed Sir 
Joseph Fayrer that he had shot in the Doon 
a tiger which measured 12 feet 3 inches before 
the skin was removed. 

17. The late Mr Frank Buckland, in corre- 
sponding with Sir Joseph Fayrer on this subject, 
refers him' to his ^Curiosities,' published in 1866, 
in which is recorded the measurement of a tiger 

shot by Colonel Ramsay and Major B in 

the Kumaon Terai. Amongst other measure- 
ments, tha total length is given at 1 2 feet ; length 
of tail, 3 feet 9 inches. 

Sir Joseph Fayrer showed me a list of numerous 
tigers and their measurements which he had shot 
himself Amongst these, two of 10 feet 8 inches 
and 10 feet 6 inches were the biggest recorded. 
Both were Bengal Purneah tigers. 

This evidence which Sir Joseph Fayrer has 
collected may be thus summed up : — 

Mr C. Shillingford, Colonel G. Boileau, and 
Sir Charles Reid, all vouch for tigers over 12 
feet. 

The same gentlemen, with Sir H. Green, Sir 
J. E. Yule, the Hon. R. Drummond, Colonel 
D. G. Stewart, Mr Cumming, and Colonel 



68 INDIAN SHIKAR. 

Shakespeare, vouch for tigers 11 feet and 
upwards. 

The above, with Colonel J. Sleeman, Mr F. B. 
Simson, Sir Joseph Fayrer, Sir E. Bradford, 
and the Hon. Sir H. Ramsay, vouch for tigers 
10 feet 5 inches and upwards, all measured before 
the skins were removed from the animal. 

Now this evidence, to my mind, is absolutely 
conclusive ; and unless all these gentlemen, whose 
accuracy and integrity none can doubt for a 
moment, were mistaken, the fact that tigers of 
12 feet and over have been shot has been satis- 
factorily proved, and not much more remains 
to be said. 

Briefly, it may be considered that though the 
average tiger varies from 9 feet 6 inches to a little 
over, yet there have been, and are, tigers of 10 
feet, which are large; that 11 -foot and 12-foot 
tigers are rare and exceptional ; and that those 
of over 12 feet are very rare. Making aU 
allowances for errors in measurement, defective 
memories, statements made on hearsay and not 
based on actual eyewitness and notes recorded at 
the time, all must admit that Sir Joseph Fayrer 
has made out a very strong case, and one that 
must convince the most unbelieving. 

Tail doubtless has a great deal to say to the 
actual length of a tiger, but mere length of 



MEASUREMENTS AND WEIGHTS OF TIGERS. 69 

this part of the animal has nothing to do with 
its bulk and size. Some tigers are lanky- 
herring- gutted brutes, with very long tails, 
whilst others are short and thick, with short 
tails, and it is quite possible that a 9 - foot 
tiger may in reality be a finer beast than one 
measuring 10 feet. Weighing tigers, or taking 
their measurements from nose to root of tail in a 
straight line, is, I believe, the only really proper 
means to arrive at the fact of the animal being 
a fine one or the reverse. The first method is, 
however, impracticable in the majority of cases ; 
whilst the fascination of beino^ able to add a foot 
or two to the length of the animal they have 
shot by including the tail is too great a temp- 
tation to most men to be avoided. 

I may perhaps be permitted to quote the 
opinion of Mr J. D. Inverarity, the well-known 
Bombay sportsman (whose plucky encounter with 
a lioness and his photographing his foe after 
the conflict will be fresh in the memory of many), 
as to the length of tigers, and this I do with 
the perhaps unworthy object of corroborating 
my own opinion. In a paper read before the 
Bombay Natural History Society, Mr Inverarity 
expresses his belief that the majority of tigers 
are under 9 feet, very few attain 10 feet, and 
that he never met one of that length. As Mr 



70 INDIAN SHIKAR. 

Inverarity's experience has, I believe, been 
mostly confined to Southern and Western India 
and to the Central Provinces, this may tend to 
prove that tigers in the Northern and Eastern 
parts of Bengal attain a larger proportion than 
they do elsewhere. In a letter to me, Mr 
Inverarity says : " Mr Mulock, of the Bombay 
Civil Service, who has measured about 100 tigers 
(including tigresses), only found two over 10 
feet. 

"The largest tigress I ever saw was 9 feet. 
No measurement is reliable unless the measurer 
makes a written note at the time. My brother 
and I last hot weather (1890) killed four old 
male tigers in one beat. They measured 8 feet 
9 inches, 8 feet 11 inches, 9 feet, and 9 feet 
5 inches. The last one looked very much larger 
than the others. What would a 12-foot tiger 
look like? Measure 12 feet on the wall and 
chalk in a tiger!" 

The late Major-General William Peyton, who 
was for over twenty years Conservator of the 
Canara Forests, wrote an account of that country 
for the ' Bombay Gazetteer.' " I can recall " 
(speaking from memory), he says, "only five 
instances of tigers being over 10 feet. It is 
quite possible that an occasional giant is met 
with. All the large measurements come from 



MEASUREMENTS AND WEIGHTS OF TIGERS. 71 

Bengal and Purneah. They may run bigger 
there." 

A word or two now as to how tigers are 
measured, and until some universal standard of 
measurement is adopted the question will never 
be settled satisfactorily. The naturalist's and 
sportsman's measurements of animals differ ma- 
terially, and the length of an animal varies 
according to the method employed. Naturalists 
measure straight from one extremity to the 
other, but generally only from nose to root of 
tail, measuring the latter separately ; sportsmen, 
in using the tape, follow the curves of the body. 
The subjoined diagrams will explain more clearly 
than I can in writing the great difference that 
exists between the two different forms of meas- 
urement. 

No. 1 shows a tiger of 9 feet 1 inches measured 
from nose to root of tail between two sticks, the 
tail measurement being taken separately ; whilst 
No. 2 shows the same animal measured along the 
curves of the body. Thus a 9 -foot 10-inch tiger 
develops into one of 1 feet 6 inches ! 

A simple method for proving this is as follows : 
Take the height of a man, and then measure him 
along the curves of his body. By this means an 
average Englishman of 5 feet 8 inches will stand 
over 6 feet. A tiger of 11 feet 6 inches or 12 



72 



INDIAN SHIKAR. 



feet, measured by a naturalist, would probably 
be a foot shorter, if not more. As a proof of my 
argument I may mention that a short time ago 




Naturalise smeasuremmt: tip of imi U root of tail, b fitt % inehis. 

No. 2,— A 9-FOOT lO-lNCH TlGER, 



mranail following cunic! of iody : fivm tip of m 
lo tip of tail, lafeet 6 inchts. 



I measured a very large tiger's skull in the 
South Kensington Museum of Natural History. 



MEASUREMENTS AND WEIGHTS OF TIGERS. 73 

Measured over the occipital process to the end 
of t\iQ foramen magnus (which latter, by the by, 
increases in length considerably with age in 
tigers), it was 17 ^ inches; measured by basal 
length — that is, inside the upper jaw — from the 
edge of the front bone to the end of the fo7'amen 
magrms^ the length was 12 J inches, giving a dif- 
ference of 5 inches ! 

Now we all know that occasionally memory 
is treacherous. As an instance of this I may 
relate that a short time ago I was talking to a 
well-known Indian sportsman on this very sub- 
ject — viz., length of tigers. He is a man who 
has killed over sixty tigers and measured them 
directly they were dead. He said, pretty well 
in these words : " Nothing is to be depended 
upon but measurement and notes made on the 
spot. No man can trust his memory implicitly, 
especially after a lapse of time. Talking about 
big tigers, I shot one last year, which I told a 
friend of mine about in a letter. I had writ- 
ten to him that it measured 9 feet 8 inches ; but 
before closing my letter, to make certain, I re- 
ferred to my notes, and found it was only 9 feet 
5 inches." This shows what mistakes are made 
even with the best intention of being accurate. 

Let me quote another case or two of how errors 
arise. In the ' Field ' (I regret I cannot furnish 



74 INDIAN SHIKAR. 

the date) appeared a few years ago an article 
entitled " Notes on Tigers," and signed '' F. T. P." 
He says : — 

" The largest tiger I was ever at the death of, 
measured, as he lay, 1 feet 1 inch ; the skin, 
when pegged out, was 13 feet 4 inches. I noted 
the measurement at the time, and it was laugh- 
able how, after the lapse of time, the dimension 
of this animal varied according to the memory of 
the individual relating the circumstances. With 
some he was 12^ feet long, and with others 13^ 
feet; with others 10^ feet, as he lay dead. It 
shows how necessary it is to record in black and 
white at the time exact measurements, otherwise 
one's memory is apt to prove treacherous. We 
thus hear of tigers of fabulous sizes. I myself 
believe 10 feet 8 inches, perhaps 10 feet 6 inches, 
to be the utmost length of a tiger, living or 
dead. Mr Campbell, Deputy Commissioner of 
Dubri, who has killed, and seen killed, a great 
many tigers, never saw one of more than 10 feet 
4 inches." 

Let me quote another instance, also gathered 
from a letter in the ' Field,' and signed " Merlin's 
Barrow," only this measurement refers to a tigress, 
which must have been of abnormal size for her 
sex. After describing the death of the animal, 
the writer goes on to say : — 



MEASUREMENTS AND WEIGHTS OF TIGERS. 75 

" The tigress was long, but so lightly built that 
four of us padded her without much effort, though 
the three natives were rather weakly men, and I 
was unable to exert much strength. We then 
turned homewards, the tigress swinging and 
stretching across the pad, for the three miles 
that intervened between us and camp. Arrived 
in camp, the tigress was thrown on to the ground, 
and two men laid her out straight, one man pull- 
ing at the head, the other at the tail. The men 
then let go, and I measured her with the utmost 
care from the tip of the muzzle to tip of the tail, 
along the curves of the body. The tape (a non- 
stretching one) made it 10 feet 5 inches. Know- 
ing that this was an impossible measurement, I 
again applied the tape, and this time the length 
was 10 feet 3 inches. I tried again, and made it 
10 feet 1 inch ; again, I made it 10 feet ; next I 
made it 9 feet 11 inches. Finally, after measur- 
ing some ten times more, the length was 9 feet 
9 inches, and at that it remained stationary. 
This, as I have said above, was a perfectly care- 
ful and impartial measurement with a tape along 
the curves of the body. I then cut a twig 18 
feet long, and made the natives measure the 
tigress, and also measured it myself. With this 
twig, which of course did not follow the curves 
of the body closely, the tigress measured, both 



76 INDIAN SHIKAR. 

in mine and the natives' hands, 9 feet 5 inches, 
or 4 inches less than with the tape. I do not 
know what the tigress was immediately after she 
was shot ; but if she was 9 feet 9 inches, she 
must be one of the very longest tigresses on 
record. I shall always regret not having meas- 
ured her before padding her. I think that there 
are one or two points worth noticing in the above 
narrative. In the first place, may not some of 
the stories of very long tigers have arisen, not 
from exaggeration on the part of the sportsman, 
but from the tape having been applied after the 
tiger had been pulled out to a length he never 
attained in life by swinging and stretching for 
long hours across a pad? My tigress stiffened 
and shrank down 8 inches from what she was 
when she first came off the pad. Might not a 
tiger 10 feet 4 inches as he lay shot on the 
ground, be so pulled out by stretching and swing- 
ing all day long in a hot sun across a pad as to 
measure 11 feet 4 inches when first thrown off 
the pad on to the ground?" 

Now I have quoted this letter at some length, 
as I think it throws a very important light on 
the question. Here we have a difference of 8 
inches made between the first and last measure- 
ments, caused by the gradual relaxation of the 
muscles, flesh, and skin, all of which had been 



MEASUREMENTS AND WEIGHTS OF TIGERS. 77 

unduly elongated owing to the means by which 
the animal had been conveyed to camp. A great 
difference, therefore, may exist between the 
length of a tiger when measured on the spot 
where it dies, and one measured before the skin 
was removed. 

If my readers will carefully read over the 
evidence that I have thus put before them, they 
will note that in all Sir Joseph Fayrer says — 
with the exception of Mr C Shillingford's 12- 
foot 4-inch tiger, '* measured as he fell," and the 
Hon. R. Drummond's tiger of 11 feet 9 inches, 
" measured as he lay on the gi'ound before being 
padded" — no mention is made of the time at 
which the measurements w^ere taken, though 
most state the dimensions to have been taken 
** before the skin was removed." This goes far, 
in my opinion, to strengthen the theory of 
" Merlin's Barrow," and may account for the 
apparently numerous tigers over 10 feet. I do 
not for a moment question the fact of tigers 
having been killed up to, and over, 1 2 feet ; but 
I do not think they are quite so common as some 
people would have us believe. 

Another noteworthy point is, that most of the 
tigers quoted by Sir Joseph Fayrer were shot 
some years ago. In those days jungles were 
not so much shot over — owing to the absence of 



78 INDIAN SHIKAR. 

railways they were less accessible — and natives 
did not shoot so much as is the case at present, 
and so tigers had a better chance of growing 
and attaining larger dimensions than they do 
nowadays. 

I think, also, that the discrepancy which 
exists between the length of tigers killed in 
Bengal, Oudh, and Nepaul, and those killed in 
Central India, may perhaps be attributed in no 
slight degree to the manner in which the animals 
are conveyed to camp. 

Amongst the great grass coverts of the former 
districts, a large number of elephants are used 
not only to carry the guns, but also for beating 
and to carry home the game. In Central India, 
where the ground consists mostly of forest 
jungle and rocky ravines, the shooting is mainly 
done from trees or on foot ; and except in a 
few isolated instances, such as following up a 
wounded tiger, elephants are very little used. 
This necessitates the dead tiger being carried to 
camp on a rough litter made of branches of trees, 
on which the body is laid, and it has therefore 
no opportunity of being stretched, as it would 
be when bound across an elephant^s back. 

If sportsmen and naturalists would combine 
to adopt a standard of measurement, some exact 
idea might be arrived at of the actual proportions 



MEASUREMENTS AND WEIGHTS OF TIGERS. V9 

of tigers ; and I contend that the only fair way 
to do this is not to include the tail, whose 
length should be stated separately, whilst a note 
should be added how and when the animal was 
measured. 

As a proof of the sort of measurements that 
every one interested in the subject should make, 
I may perhaps be allowed to quote those con- 
tained in a letter from Mr F. A. Shillingford to 
Mr C. T. Buckland. Referring to this tiger, 
which weighed 520.8 lb., in a letter dated 
February 11, 1888, Mr Shillingford says: — 

"The external measurements and weight four 
hours after death were as follows — 



Weight 

Tip of nose to back of skull 
Back of skull to root of tail 
Root to tip of tail . 

Total length . 



520.8 lb. 

Feet. Inches. 

1 6 

4 11 

3 5 



10 



Height from fore-foot heel-pad to withers, 3 feet 9 inches. 

The length was taken with an almost new 
Chesterman's metallic measuring -tape, 'sports- 
man's style ' — that is, the body of the tiger was 
laid flat on the ground, and straightened out as 
far as practicable ; the end of the tape was then 
held at the tip of the nose, thence carried along 
the centre line of the forehead to the back of 



80 INDIAN SHIKAR. 

the head, then along the neck, withers, and back 
to root, then tip of tail. The height was taken 
by placing a stick upright at his withers and 
another below his fore-foot heel-pad, and measur- 
ing the distance between the two sticks. . . . 
The head was boiled and the flesh removed, and 
the skull measurements, taken with a pair of 
steel calipers, in accordance with Mr Sterndale's 
suggestions, were as follows : — 

Inches. 

Palatal measurement from outside insertion of incisors 

to anterior edge oiforainen magnvs . . . ll|f 

Length of skull from insertion of incisors to end of 

occipital process . . . . . . , \A:\ 

Malar measurement, being width of skull across zygo- 
matic arches ....... 9| 

These measurements were taken on the third 
day after the death of the tiger, and will probably 
have to be modified when the dimensions of the 
dry skull are noted." 

These are the sort of records that are wanted, 
which are of value, and worth all " speaking from 
memory." If only Indian sportsmen would in 
future follow Mr Shillingford's example as closely 
as circumstances permit, particularly in stating 
how and at what period after death they measured 
their tigers, much would be done to settle the 
controversy, and the science of natural history be 
largely benefited. 



MEASUREMENTS AND WEIGHTS OF TIGERS. 81 

The details that I have been able to gather 
present a mass of contradictory evidence, all 
given, with perhaps one or two exceptions, by 
men whose veracity no one would dream of 
impugning. The cause of these great discrepan- 
cies is, I think, to be traced to two causes : 1. 
the measurements being taken from stretched 
skins; 2. from their being given from memory. 
But *• memory," though often good and accurate, 
is nevertheless liable to err; it plays dreadful 
tricks at times, and so cannot be depended on as 
absolutely trustworthy. With regard to the first 
cause of error, measuring a skin is not the same 
as measuring the animal when still warm. To 
give an instance. As I write, on the wall above 
me is nailed the skin of a tiger I shot in Berar. 
A reference to my diary shows this animal to 
have measured in the flesh 9 feet 3 inches (he 
was a hill-tiger, very stoutly built, and with a 
somewhat short tail). The tape put now over 
the skin shows it to measure 1 1 feet 1 inch 1 
Rather a diflference. A skin can practically be 
made to measure anything by stretching it, but 
this is not true measurement. 

Personally I do not believe in many tigers shot 
within the last five-and-twenty years measuring 
much over 10 feet 3 inches, though, of course, 
exceptional monsters measuring 2 or 3 inches 

VOL. I. F 



82 INDIAN SHIKAR. 

more may have been obtained. The 9 - foot 
3-inch tiger killed by me in Berar that I have 
alluded to was very large, and one of 9 feet 
6 inches shot by a friend during the same trip 
seemed a veritable monster. No doubt occasional 
10-foot tigers are killed, but they are few and far 
between, and I do not think exist in Central 
India, at all events. From the records that I 
have quoted, readers who may be interested in 
the matter will be able to draw their own conclu- 
sions as to the weight and measurement of tigers. 
I would make two further remarks. First, 
that opportunities of weighing tigers are rare, 
it being impossible to carry about in an ordinary 
shikar trip a weighing-machine that would regis- 
ter so great a weight as that of a tiger with 
precision. Secondly, that there is really only 
one correct method of measuring the length of 
any animal, and this should invariably be fol- 
lowed if accuracy is any object — viz., by meas- 
uring from the tip of the nose to the tip of the 
tail, between two sticks placed in the ground, 
and without following the curves of the body, 
directly life is extinct. This is important, as 
after being carried home on the pad of an ele- 
phant, a tiger's body stretches a good deal, and 
if carried by being tied by the legs to a pole it 
becomes stiflP and contracts. 



MEASUREMENTS AND WEIGHTS OF TIGERS. 



83 



A rough average, including the cases of four 
animals said to have measured from 12 feet to 
1 5 feet, gives an average of about 1 feet 4 inches, 
and if these ''doubtful" cases were excluded it 
would be considerably less. Taking all this into 
consideration, I think it may be safely calculated 
that a tiger measuring from 9 feet 3 inches to 
9 feet 6 inches is a large animal, one of 10 feet 
exceptionally large, and anything over 10 feet a 
veritable monster.^ 

^ Vide note to chapter iii., p. 239. 




A fruitful cause of dispute. 



84 



CHAPTER IV. 



poggle's mistake. 



*' Yes, I will. Hang me if I don't ! " said Mr 
Pog^e, laying down his book and filling him- 
self another B.-and-S. Having cooled his throat 
with that seductive beverage and lit an enormous 
meerschaum, he proceeded thus with his soliloquy : 
'' If other fellows can do it, why shouldn't I ? I 
can knock over a cock pheasant or a hare as well 
as most chaps ; and as to coolness — bah ! Well, I 
always was reckoned a cool hand, and I flatter 
myself it'll have to be a very 'cute tiger that can 
put me out, let him roar as he will. Oh yes, 
I'll have a shy at the game, for I now know all 
about it. I haven't read Sanderson, Sterndale, 
Shakespeare, Gordon - Gumming, Newall, Baker, 
Burton, Simson, Forsyth, Rice, &c., all for noth- 
ing 1 I've only just got to condense all these 
into one, and there you are as plain as A B G. 
I can easily get introductions to some old cocks 



poggle's mistake. 85 

out in the gorgeous East who'll put me in the 
way of sport, and I think the almighty dollar 
will do the rest/' 

So saying, Mr Poggle (Mr Augustus Poggle, as 
he put on his cards) pulled up his gills, looked 
at his small self in the glass with a glance of 
approval, and rang the bell. His valet and 
factotum, Thompson, a sedate and irreproach- 
able-looking domestic, promptly answered the 
summons. 

"Did you ring, sir?" 

" Well, yes, I did, Thompson. Shut the door. 
I wish to have a few words with you," replied 
his master, feeling somewhat uneasy as to how 
his henchman would receive the intellio^ence he 
was about to impart. " The fact is, Thompson," 
he continued, "Tm sick of knocking about at 
home, and am thinking of going abroad for a 
bit. I suppose you have no objection to accom- 
pany me ? " 

*'Not at all, sir; but might I henquire, sir, 
what country you intend visiting ? If it is Paris, 
sir, I am well acquainted with that capital. 
When I was with Lord Scattercash I " 

"Oh no," interrupted his master, who had 
heard of Lord Scattercash till he loathed the 
name — " oh no, much farther than France. The 
fact is, I want to shoot some big game — tigers 



86 INDIAN SHIKAR. 

and bears and all those sort of brutes, you know 
— and intend going to India." 

At the prospect of being so far from his " 'earth 
and 'ome," as Mr Thompson subsequently ex- 
pressed himself at his club, that worthy's face 
fell, and he began framing excuses. " He was a 
married man ; he was not so young as he was ; 
he had 'eard that it was very 'ot in Hindia, and 
that there were all sorts of serpents and venem- 
ous reptiles there," &c. However, by dint of a 
little persuasion and the promise of a handsome 
douceur the faithful Thompson was at last pre- 
vailed on to accompany his " young gentleman " 
on the proposed tour, upon the distinct under- 
standing that he " should 'ave 'is meals by hisself, 
and not be asked to sit down with they nasty 
blacks." That knotty point being settled, Gussy 
Poggle, as his friends called him, spent the next 
fortnight in a state of feverish excitement, mak- 
ing preparations for his expedition. He ordered 
a wonderful battery of rifles, guns, and revolvers ; 
provided himself with a whole cutler s shop of 
knives, spears, &c., and no end of useless para- 
phernalia, with which various tradesmen assured 
him he could not do without if he was going to 
India. " In fact, sir, we sell an enormous quan- 
tity of them to officers going abroad," — and so on, 
and so on, till Gussy's luggage assumed gigantic 



poggle's mistake. 87 

proportions. Then he bustled about button- 
holing every friend and acquaintance who had 
ever been in India, or who had ever had even a 
sister, a cousin, or an aunt in that part of the 
British empire, at the same time overwhelming 
them with such a torrent of questions as fairly 
perplexed them, and made their lives a perfect 
burden. Altogether he was in a fine fuss. 

There is an end to all things, however, and 
Mr Peggie's preparations were finally completed. 
His passage, as well as that of his faithful 
servitor, was taken on one of the P. and 0. 
steamers for Bombay (which Presidency he had 
selected as his field of operations) ; all his museum 
of arms and ammunition was safely soldered up 
in tin cases ; and after a farewell dinner to a few 
choice kindred spirits at his club — the Diana — 
one fine day in February saw our friend and Mr 
Thompson steaming down the Thames bound for 
the East. 

After the first twenty-four hours, during which 
poor Poggle suffered all the agonies of Trial de 
mer, and heartily wished himself back in his 
comfortable chambers in the Albany, his sporting 
ardour revived, and he began to look about 
amongst his fellow-passengers for some one from 
whom he might extract information and advice. 
Amongst others was a genial old gentleman, a 



88 INDIAN SHIKAR. 

Deputy Commissioner, who, struck by the young 
man's unfeigned enthusiasm, lent a kindly ear 
to all his numerous questions. Sir Theophilus 
Currybh^t (for such was his name) had spent 
the best part of his life in India, and now, having 
been knighted for his services, was returning to 
end his period of service before retiring on a well- 
earned pension. He had never been much of a 
sportsman, and so on the subject nearest Peggie's 
heart was not able to afford him a great amount 
of information ; still he promised to do what he 
could to further his views and assist him to the 
best of his power. "But take my advice, my 
young friend," said the old man one day after 
one of their numerous conversations, " and don't 
go in for tiger -shooting by yourself. It is a 
dangerous game at the best of times, even to an 
experienced man, and if you don't take care you 
will probably come off second best." 

" Oh yes, I know what you mean," returned 
Poggle, with a self-satisfied air; "but I never 
mean to give a tiger a chance of mauling me. 
You see, I've thought the matter out pretty well, 
and I've come to the conclusion that through an 
idea of my own no tiger can make good his 
charge if you are properly armed. I'm in the 
Volunteers, you know, and I've read military 
history a good bit, and I find that seldom or never 



poggle's mistake. 89 

have cavalry been able to break into an infantry 
square. Now I have invented a sort of bayonet 
that fixes on to my rifle. My servant will also 
have one similarly fitted ; so then all we have to 
do directly we have fired at the tiger is to * pre- 
pare to receive cavalry/ or rather tigers ! I shall 
be the front rank and Thompson rear rank, and 
it will, I fancy, have to be a pretty clever tiger 
that will be able to do us any harm." 

At this absurd enunciation an amused smile 
played over the old Indian's lips, and though he 
failed to see the connection between sport and 
war (he had never read his * Jorrocks,' you see), he 
merely replied drily, " Ah ! well, I hope you won't 
require to use cold steel, but that your bullets 
will do their work without your having to call 
your useful invention into play." 

Malta, Gibraltar, the Suez Canal, and Aden 
had all been passed, the novel sights of which 
delighted our hero, and at length they reached 
Bombay. As soon as the ship's anchor was let 
go our friend was fairly staggered by the rush of 
coloured gentlemen (" blackies," as Mr Thompson 
irreverently termed them) on board. Parsees, 
Eurasians, touts from hotels, servants of every 
description and caste, exhibiting most flowery 
chits or characters (most of them — probably all — 
forged in the bazaar), agents of different houses. 



90 INDIAN SHIKAR. 

boatmen, &c., gesticulating and shouting at the 
top of their voices, all combined to produce a per- 
fect pandemonium of sound, as bewildering as it 
was irritating. However, thanks to his friend 
Sir Theophilus, Gussy escaped from all this crowd 
of harpies, and soon he and the faithful Thompson 
were on their way to the shore with the worthy 
civilian. Landing at the well - known Apollo 
Bunda, they were driven to the BycuUa Hotel, 
and the next few days were spent in seeing all 
the sights and wonders of the place. Engrossing 
and charming as these were from their very 
novelty to our friend, he soon began to weary for 
the greater charms of the jungle. He could think 
and dream of nothing else but tigers. Waking, 
sleeping, eating, drinking, and smoking, tiger was 
the constant theme upon which his thoughts 
harped, and he was all fire and impatience to b 
off and beard the monarch in his den. 

At last all final preparations were completed, 
tents, supplies, &c., bought, servants engaged, 
and, most important of all, a thoroughly good 
shikari secured. This gentleman, according to 
his numerous chits^ if they were to be believed, 
appeared to combine all the virtues under the 
sun ! Did not General Sir Moses Mulligatawny 
affirm that " the bearer, Mahomed Bux, has been 
in my service for a number of years. I consider 



poggle's mistake. 91 

him 2i first-class shikari, honest, cool, active, intel- 
ligent, and painstaking " ? Did not the noted 
Captain Bundook also bear testimony to his 
courage and abilities as a tracker? Whilst Mr 
Sheristadar, of the Bombay Civil Service, could 
hardly express in adequate terms all he thought 
of him ! His get-up, too, impressed Poggle, for 
Mahomed Bux was a tall swaggering Mussulman, 
whose whiskers, dyed red and blue and standing 
out from his cheeks, with a fierce twirl on his 
moustaches, almost gave him the look of a tiger ! 
A gorgeous red-and-gold turban, a close-fitting 
suit of dead-leaf-colour clothes, encircled by a 
broad leather belt plentifully garnished with 
hunting-knife, bullet-pouches, and every sort of 
gewgaws, all combined to make him present a 
decidedly sporting appearance — to a novice ! 

So his services at Rs. 50 per mensem (paid in 
advance), and all the Government rewards for 
tigers killed, were secured by Poggle, who was 
greatly elated at having obtained such a valuable 
aid to the object he had in view. Luckily for 
Mahomed Bux, Sir Theophilus was not present 
at the interview which ended by the great man 
entering . Toggle's service, otherwise these pages 
might never have been written. 

Mahomed Bux having informed his employer 
that he knew of a district swarming with tigers. 



92 INDIAN SHIKAR. 

was accordingly despatched on ahead to make all 
necessary arrangements, and it was agreed that 
in a week's time he should meet Poggle at the 
station of Nunderipoor, report progress, and lead 
him to the Elysian fields of shikar. At length 
the long-looked-for day arrived, and after a weary 
journey from Bombay, Poggle reached his desti- 
nation. Here he was met by the great Mahomed, 
who greeted him with a profound salaam and a 
smile of approval lurking beneath his upturned 
moustache. Among other accomplishments, it 
should be noted that Mahomed possessed, or 
professed to possess, a knowledge of English ; so 
to our sportsman's inquiry of " Well, what khuh- 
her, Mahomed ? " (Gussy had managed to pick up 
a few words of the vernacular), he replied with 
an air of conscious superiority, ^^Verri good, sar ! 
Sahib great gentlemans — great shikari — plenty 
tiger-getting — I know five, six, ten tigers all 
waiting to eat sahib's bullets." 

Poggle was delighted. He wished there and 
then to be led to victory. But in this he was 
doomed to disappointment ; for, as Mahomed 
informed him, the tiger-ground was many koss 
distant ^ — several days' march, in fact. A koss 
being equivalent to the Scotsman's "bittock," 
might mean any distance ; but of this our friend 

^ A koss is about two English miles. 



poggle's mistake. 93 

was naturally ignorant — happily, perhaps. He 
was comforted, however, by the assurance that 
the country he would have to traverse before 
reaching his happy hunting-grounds was teeming 
with game. Deer, antelope, partridges, hares, 
wild-fowl, and snipe were all waiting for the 
honour of being done to death by his unerring 
tube. With this he had perforce to be content, 
and was somewhat mollified by Thompson's sage 
remark that these "'ere hanimals" would afford 
him a good opportunity of testing the accuracy 
and shooting powers of his battery. For the next 
ten days, therefore, during which he progressed 
at the rate of about seven miles a-day, he and 
Thompson had great fun. They blazed away any 
amount of cartridges with, it must be confessed, 
alas ! but little to show for them. Still, they 
greatly enjoyed themselves, and thought it very 
fine sport. After a while, though, Poggle began 
to wax impatient, and to inquire when on earth 
they were going to reach the tiger-ground ? The 
astute Mahomed, however, had always an excuse 
ready. At such and such a spot he had known 
for a positive fact of three tigers ; but, alas 1 since 
he had marked them down a party of sahibs had 
come that way, and shot them all ! At another 
place, which always held tigers, a native shikari 
— " might dogs defile his grave ! " — had shot the 



94 INDIAN SHIKAR. 

animal only the previous week! At another 
spot the water had unfortunately dried up, and 
the tigers had left the neighbourhood — and so 
on. This, with occasional attacks of fever (pre- 
tended, of course), spun out the time pretty 
well. 

A month had passed, and as yet Poggle had 
not had even the meagre satisfaction of beholding 
a tigers "pug," though in his rambles he dili- 
gently searched every sandy river-bed and dusty 
path for the sign-manual of Felis tigris. Alto- 
gether he was getting rather sick of his own 
society and his want of success. At last, however, 
a ray of brightness dawned on the gloom of his 
despair, for one morning Mahomed appeared with 
a radiant countenance betokening that at length 
his efforts were about to be rewarded. Poggle 
noted the look which presaged good news, and 
to his impatient inquiry the shikari replied with 
a confident air — 

" Tiger here, sar ! Plenty bad tiger — plenty 
bullock-killing — that very bad tiger. Master 
shooting, then village people plenty blessing 
master. If master coming with me, I showing 
* pug ' ; then while master having breakfast, I 
getting coolies to beat, and coming back two 
hours' time." 



poggle's mistake. 95 

" Two hours," thought Poggle ; " it's a deuced 
long time. Why can't we go at once ? " he 
demanded. 

"Please, master, no hurry-making — that bad 
handobast. When sun getting hot, then tiger go 
sleep in bush, and master shooting easy." 

In spite of his deferential manner there was a 
certain air of command in Mahomed's words, and 
so Poggle thought it wisest to submit, and accom- 
pany the great man to view the pugs. These 
were pointed out to him with an air of triumph. 
Tiger's tracks they certainly were ; but the 
imprint of the mighty paw was baked hard and 
dry in the mud surrounding a little puddle near 
some scrub jungle, and was probably some weeks 
old. Still, it undoubtedly was a tiger's track, 
and though some doubts as to its freshness shot 
across our sportsman's brain, he kept his thoughts 
to himself; and to Thompson's remark of "Lor, 
sir, what a thunderin' big hanimal he must be ! " 
he merely replied, "Yes, and I hope we'll have 
his jacket off before night. Just go and load 
a few fresh cartridges, Thompson ; see that those 
bayonet- points are sharp, and put a good edge 
on my hunting-knife, for there is no knowing 
what may happen, and it is as well to be pre- 
pared." 



96 INDIAN SHIKAR. 

Then he went to breakfast. The prospect of 
at last meeting with the object of his desire had 
such an effect on him, that after toying with a 
bit of grilled fowl, chipping an egg which he did 
not eat, and swallowing a couple of remarkably 
stiif " pegs," he rose, lit his pipe, and kept fidg- 
eting about his camp. Eleven o'clock, twelve 
o'clock, one o'clock passed, and as yet no signs 
of either Mahomed or the beaters. At half-past 
one, however, that worthy was seen slowly 
approaching from the adjacent village, followed 
by some dozen coolies. Poggle was furious, and 
began by asking what the devil he meant, and 
where the beaters were? 

** Master, please not getting angry. Patel 
[head man] this village very bad man, plenty 
bobbery-making, no coolies giving. What can 
poor man do?" replied the shikari, with folded 
hands and an air of mock humility. 

" D — n the patel ! " growled Gussy ; then with 
a sudden air of inspiration he added, " Well, never 
mind ; the jungle seems pretty open here, and I 
daresay the men you have got will be enough." 

"I thinking same like master. We look- 
ing, perhaps seeing tiger in bush, then master 
shooting." 

So it was settled that master should pot the 



poggle's mistake. 97 

sleeping beauty, and forthwith the party set out 
armed to the teeth, rifles loaded and bayonets 
fixed. Some ten minutes' walk brought them to 
the spot where the jungle began, and a careful 
reconnaissance of each bush and tuft of grass was 
made. After proceeding some two or three 
hundred yards with great caution, Mahomed 
stopped dead short, and seizing Poggle by the 
arm, said in low and awestruck tones, "There, 
sar, tiger there ! " pointing to a thick bush some 
fifty yards distant. 

" Where ? " asked Gussy, breathlessly, and now 
that the supreme moment had at last arrived, 
feeling terribly shaky. He began to wish he had 
not smoked so much, and to have an irresistible 
wish for a " nip " of something just to steady him. 

" There, sar, there ! Master looking close to 
ground, then seeing tiger's skin." Poggle and 
Thompson both looked hard, the latter all the 
time wishing himself well out of the adventure, 
and much inclined to make tracks back to camp. 

" Ah, I see him," at length whispered Poggle, 
as a patch of yellow striped with black caught 
his eye. " Look, Thompson, don't you see ? just 
between those two small branches. Now," he 
added, "we will creep up a little nearer. I will 
fire on my knee, and you stand behind me and 

VOL. I. G 



98 INDIAN SHIKAR. 

fire at the same time, when I give the word 
' Fire ! ' and then bring your rifle down to the 
charge." 

**Y-e-es, sir," stammered the now thoroughly 
alarmed Thompson, feeling all his courage oozing 
out at his finger-tips. 

Stealthily they crept up some twenty yards 
closer, and then getting into position, fired their 
volley ! There was a tremendous commotion in 
the bush, but the tiger gave none of those terri- 
fying, hoarse, coughing roars that our friend had 
expected ; moreover, he did not charge out. 
Reloading quickly, they poured in another volley. 
This time a curious moaning, choking sound, with 
more floundering about, was the only response. 
A third volley was then delivered, and again, as 
on each previous occasion, the dauntless two pre- 
pared to "receive tigers." But none came. A 
feeble, long-drawn gasp was the only sound that 
reached their ears ; then all was still. 

" Hooray ! " shouted Gussy in elated tones. 
" He's dead ! " and then and there he and Thomp- 
son proceeded to pump-handle each other and 
pour forth mutual congratulations, quite regard- 
less of their respective positions as master and 
servant. 

" Mahomed, you're a brick, and 111 give you 



poggle's mistake. 99 

Rs. 50 extra for this ! " said Gussy, bubbling over 
with excitement and delight. 

** Master plenty kind; master very fine shooter. 
How can tiger help eating masters bullets?" 
replied that individual, with a low deferential 
salaam, as he approached from a considerable 
distance in the rear, whither he had wisely be- 
taken himself. 

" Now," continued Poggle, sitting down and 
lighting a pipe, "just you and those coolies go 
and pull the beast out, and well measure him at 
once. Here, Thompson, get out the tape." 

Somehow or another, as Mahomed and the 
coolies entered the bush from which to extract 
the body of the tiger, a sudden fit of home- 
sickness seemed to attack them, for after one 
look they promptly decamped. 

" Confound the beggars! What are they about? 
Go and see, Thompson," said Poggle, feeling de- 
cidedly irritated. 

But it flashed across the brain of that astute 
servitor that perhaps the tiger was not dead, and 
he did not quite see the joke of going all by him- 
self to ascertain the fact. He had read in some 
of the volumes his master had perused with such 
interest, instances of apparently defunct tigers 
suddenly coming to life and inflicting death or 



100 INDIAN SHIKAR. 

serious injury on those who dared to form a too 
intimate acquaintance with them. So he ventured 
mildly to remark, " Don't you think, sir, it might 
be safer if we was both to go together ? " 

Poggle saw the drift of the argument, and 
muttering something about "no need of being 
such a funk-stick," stalked off. Arrived at the 
spot, they stooped down and saw — oh, horror !— 
not a tiger, but the hoofs of a chestnut pony 
sticking out below the brushwood ! 

Alas ! it was but too true. The poor animal 
lying in the thick shade had been mistaken for 
a tiger, his bright coat being somewhat of the 
same hue, and the sunlight flickering through the 
foliage added to the delusion by throwing shadows 
on it resembling stripes. Yes, there he lay dead 
as a door-nail, with the blood trickling out of 
four bullet-wounds. Master and servant stared 
blankly at each other, then slowly turned, and 
with a dejected air retraced their steps to camp. 
Meanwhile the news had spread, and shortly 
Poggle's tent was surrounded by a clamouring, 
angry crowd, headed by the Patel, demanding 
compensation. 

The upshot of it all was that Gussy had to pay 
the extortionate demand of Rs. 500 for an animal 
worth about Rs. 20, and had not even the satis- 



POGGLES MISTAKE. 101 

faction of giving Mahomed Bux the feijitpg he sp „ 
richly deserved, for "the treasure ' '-KaJ -made • 
himself scarce, and was no more Stefln.: j-JtjVl^.'aO'.: 
Gussy returned to Bombay a sadder and wiser 
man, cursing all Indian sport, and tiger-shooting 
in particular. 



Mahomed Bux. 



102 



• . . • • '% * ' 



CHAPTER V. 



A woman's nerve. 



Some years ago, when dining at BuUumabad with 
my friend Jack Belmont (the names are ficti- 
tious, but the incident veracious), I noticed that 
his wife wore, on a broad band of black velvet 
that encircled her throat, a brooch made of 
panther-claws. It was a chef-cPceuvre of the 
native jeweller's art. The broad parts of the 
two claws of which it was composed were united 
with a very fairly modelled representation of a 
snarling panther's head. The ears were laid 
back viciously, whilst the eyes, made from two 
really good diamonds from Golconda, flashed and 
sparkled in the light of the dinner- table. Some- 
how my attention was riveted, my curiosity 
aroused; for I felt sure that brooch had a 
history, and more than once I felt as if I were 
staring almost rudely at my hostess. Dinner at 
last was over. We had touched on all the latest 



A woman's nerve. 103 

European news, fashions, and station scandal, had 
wished ourselves back in the old country (ah, 
how often since then have we wished ourselves 
back in the " Shiny " !), and at last, on Mrs 
Belmont's rising, we lit our cheroots and ad- 
journed to long chairs, the verandah, and the 
cool night air. In masculine confidence we dis- 
cussed sundry topics, debated whether old General 
Chutnee would get the vacant brigade, agreed 
that the way young Spooner carried on with 
pretty Mrs Chignon was really too had, touched 
on home politics, voted that India was going to 
the dogs, and so ad infinitum. At last the sub- 
ject of shikar cropped up. 

Here was my chance. I had always been an 
inveterate enthusiast — call me maniac, if you 
like — on all matters connected with sport, and 
the opportunity was too good to be lost, so I 
began. 

" I say, old fellow, that was an awfully neat 
brooch your Mem-sahib had on to-night. Did 
you shoot the jdnwdr (animal) ? " 

Belmont smiled, and a grim look of satisfaction 
overspread his rugged, sun-tanned face. He was 
no Adonis, but a good, hard-looking Englishman, 
a type of the men who have made England what 
it is. 

" Yes, I did," he remarked slowly, as he puffed 



104 INDIAN SHIKAR. 

a thin cloud of blue smoke from his " Trichy," and 
gazed up at the blue, star-spangled sky. 

I knew from his manner something was coming. 
His thoughts were evidently far away, and it 
would not do to bring him back again from those 
charming realms of the past too abruptly, and so 
I puflTed on in silence. 

It is hard work waiting sometimes when you 
are impatient, but I knew my friend, and knew, 
moreover, that he hated being hurried. He was, 
I felt sure, raking up all the details of the in- 
cident that, in his mind at least, were fraught 
with important results, and so I curbed my im- 
patience. 

Certainly, if surroundings influence us at all, 
I had everything in my favour. Not a leaf was 
stirring ; the moon was breaking through a bank 
of dark clouds, touching up with its silvery light 
the dome of a distant mosque. The still cool air, 
after a refreshing shower, was heavy with the 
scent of jasmine and the large convolvulus-shaped 
moon-flower that twined up the supporting pillars 
of the verandah, and turned its white, full-shaped 
blossoms to the planet after which it was named. 
An odour, not unpleasant, of burning hois de 
vdche (the fuel in common use amongst natives 
in India) came from the servants' lines; whilst 
away in the distance the plaintive wail of a 



A woman's nerve. 105 

wandering jackal, the neigh of -a horse, the bark 
of dogs, and the strains of a regimental band 
blended not inharmoniously. 

Belmont smoked on. At last, when his cheroot 
had burnt almost down to his lips, he roused him- 
self, and turning towards me, queried, '* Would 
you like to know the story connected with the 
' scuffle ' ? " 

" Of course I would, old chap ; you know any 
^ scuffle ' has charms for me," I replied. 

" All right — ^you shall," he returned ; " but let 
us get something to drink first, and light up 
again. Here, ^ boy ' ! peg aur ag lao " {Anglice^ 
" bring brandy and soda and fire "). A gulp or 
two of the iced fluid, that gurgled gratefully 
down our throats, a good cheroot under way, 
and then we composed ourselves in the respec- 
tive positions of reciter and listener. 

After a few preliminary draws at his cheroot, 
Belmont thus told his story : — 

" Some ten years ago I was shikaring down in 
the Taindwah District, and one day came across 
old Jackson, who was the collector there, and, as 
you know, the most hospitable fellow in the world, 
who was out in camp with his daughter Livy. 
Hearing that I had had but poor sport during my 
trip, he would take no denial, but insisted on my 
being his guest, and going with him to some noted 



106 INDIAN SHIKAR. 

tiger-jungles which he had kept quiet, and where 
he said I should be certain to have sport. You 
may be sure I did not refuse, though for some 
time I doubted if it would be wise on my part 
to accept. You will wonder why I had even a 
transient doubt about closing with such a good 
oflfer, but the fact was I had known Livy for some 
two years ; and, to tell you the honest truth, I 
had been very hard hit right under the liver- 
wing. But, I argued, what was the good of a 
poor subaltern indulging in love's young dream 
when he had not very well the means to keep 
himself, much less a wife ? So I did what I 
thought wisest, eschewed the Jacksons' society, 
and thought I was safe. But, as you see. Fate 
ordained otherwise, and you, old man, will allow 
that I have had no reason to quarrel with her de- 
crees. However, to resume. We had been kept 
hanging about for some time at a place where 
the only sport to be got was with black-buck and 
chikara — very good sport in its way, but not the 
sort of shikar one makes a hundred-and-seventy- 
mile march to obtain — so I naturally began to 
be a little impatient, all the more as I felt that 
that little witch Livy was beginning to reassert 
her influence over me, an influence which I had 
flattered myself I had conquered. We two went 



A WOMAN S NERVE. 107 

for long rides every day, and shot black-buck 
together. You know what a good shot she is, 
and I must confess the way she used to bowl over 
black-buck running at a hundred and fifty yards, 
with her little rifle, increased my admiration of 
her. Sketching, reading, and chess whiled away 
other hours of the day, and I- felt that matters 
were coming to a climax when one day old Jack- 
son said at breakfast — 

" * Belmont, Kureem ' — that was his shikari, 
and a first-rate fellow — 'has just brought in 
khuhher of a panther in some sugar-cane fields 
about two miles from here. I cannot accompany 
you, as I must go over to Dongergaon to settle 
a boundary dispute ; but you might go and have 
a shot, and Livy will ride out with you. I have 
made all arrangements, and the beaters will be 
ready whenever you give the order.' 

"Livy looked at me across the table, and as 
her responsive glance met mine, I knew that she 
was every whit as keen for the ' scufile ' as I was. 
At last old Jackson went off, after particularly 
enjoining on Livy that she was to keep well out 
of harm's way. At three o'clock, after tiffin, we 
started, and after a two-mile canter, enlivened 
by having to jump two or three thorn-and-straw 
rope-bound fences and a nullah, we arrived at 



108 INDIAN SHIKAR. 

the scene of action, and found Kureem and the 
beaters awaiting us. It was not exactly the sort 
of place one would have expected to find a pan- 
ther, as for some distance the whole country was 
under cultivation ; sugar-cane, jowaree, dhal, and 
cotton-fields succeeded each other with monoton- 
ous regularity, and unless there existed some un- 
known but special attraction, it looked a most 
unlikely-looking spot to find any of the big cats. 
Kureem, however, was confident, and, to prove 
his assertion, pointed out to me the compara- 
tively fresh tracks of the panther in a dry irri- 
gation rivulet that led into a sugar-cane field. I 
was posted in an open space that divided two 
fields of sugar-cane, with Livy on her Arab pony 
well out of harm's way in the open beyond. The 
beat began, and before long I just caught a 
glimpse of the panther as she flashed across the 
open, but rather too far to risk a shot. Stopping 
the beat, I called Kureem, and after * ringing ' the 
small patch of sugar-cane into which we knew 
the panther had gone, and assuring ourselves 
that she had not quitted it, I went to take up a 
new position. On my way I was joined by Livy, 
and nothing would suit her but that she should 
come and join me. In vain I protested, and 
urged that her father's last injunctions to her 



A woman's nerve. 109 

were to keep out of harm's way. *0h, never 
mind Daddies/ she replied; 'I know you will 
shoot straight.' The implied admiration of my 
correct aim and wilful woman won the day. I 
gave in, and dismounting, Livy accompanied me. 
The spot where I decided to take my stand was 
behind a thick b^hr bush about twenty yards 
from the sugar-canes, and between the growing 
crop and it the ground dipped down in a sort 
of hollow. The bush, or rather bushes, were 
somewhat thick, and about up to my chest in 
the highest part, with lower scattered growth 
around, and we took up our positions in a slight 
opening, where we could command a good view. 
I ought, perhaps, to tell you that Livy had 
hooked up her habit, and had armed herself with 
her little rifle, which had wrought such execution 
amongst the black-buck, and was standing a few 
yards behind me. 

"The beaters came on, and we could see the 
tall sugar-cane swaying about as they forced 
their way through it. But not a sign of the 
panther. Nearer and nearer the beaters ap- 
proached, kicking up no end of a hullabaloo, and, 
I must acknowledge, keeping line wonderfully. 
I could almost see the foremost, and thinking 
the panther must have either lain close or slipped 



110 INDIAN SHIKAR. 

out unseen, I turned to Livy and said, ^ What a 
sell ! ' The words were scarcely out of my mouth 
when there was a rustle at my very feet, and I 
caught sight of a fulvous-spotted hide gliding 
past me almost within touching distance. Of 
course I ought to have stood still, but I was 
keen, and I felt I must have a shot somehow ; so, 
forgetting Livy's presence, and without putting 
my rifle to my shoulder, I * fluffed off.' As I 
stepped back to get clear of the smoke, my spur 
caught in one of the little bushes, and I tumbled 
over, to find the next moment about 200 lb. 
weight of panther-flesh on top of me. What my 
sensations were I cannot accurately describe, be- 
yond stating that they were uncommonly un- 
pleasant, and that I felt in a deuce of a rage. 
The brute was lying across me ; her left fore-paw 
had pinned my right arm to my side, whilst she 
had her teeth fixed in my shoulder, with my left 
arm under her, and her snarling vicious face so 
close to mine that I could smell her fetid breath. 
One desperate effort I made to kick her off, then 
there was a sharp report, and the brute tumbled 
off me. Scrambling up, my first thought was of 
Livy, so imagine my horror to find her on the 
ground, with the panther apparently chawing her 
up ! Picking up my rifle, I fired the left barrel 



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A woman's nerve. Ill 

into the brute, and then everything swam round 
before my eyes, and I fell down faint from loss of 
blood. I must have soon come to, however, for 
when I opened my eyes Livy was bathing my 
head with water and washing my wounds. 

" * Thank God, you are all right, darling ! ' I 
ejaculated, and then my strength seemed to 
return as she said, with the tears standing in 
her eyes — 

**'Yes, yes, I am all right, but we must have 
that panther. Can you go on ? ' 

" By Jove t old man, weak and shaken as I 
was, the girFs pluck put new life into me, and 
I vowed I would kill that panther if it cost 
me my life. Well, to make a long story short, I 
staggered up and found that after leaving me the 
panther had rushed at Livy, knocked her over, 
and got hold of the folds of her habit, which 
was torn to shreds, but without injuring her. 
Then when I had fired she had let go, and 
hooked it into a small, rocky nullah. Here we 
found her, very sick, and I gave her the coup de 
grdce. 

" When we got back to camp, and the excite- 
ment had worn off, I became very ill. Fever set 
in ; I became delirious, and for a fortnight hovered 
between life and death. But I have a pretty 



112 INDIAN SHIKAR. 

sound constitution, and, thanks to Livy's nursing, 
I got all right ; and of course the end of it was 
that what I had so long put off came to pass ; 
I proposed and was accepted. Old Jackson 
hummed and hawed a great deal, pointed out to 
me the danger I had subjected his daughter to, 
and for a long time was very obdurate. But Livy 
got her way in the end, and we were married. 
Soon after, thanks to my father-in-law's interest, 
I got a good appointment, and that led to the 
one I now hold. Altogether you will admit that 
it was not a bad day for me when I had that 
scuflBe, though it nearly had a tragic termination, 
and I have never ceased being thankful that it 
gave me the chance of being the husband of a 
heroic woman. There, old man, that is the story 
of the brooch, which was my first present to 
Livy. Now come along and have a cup of coffee, 
and the Mem -sahib shall tell you her version 
of it." 

This the Mem-sahib did, and after a while got 
out, for my edification, the habit riven and torn 
by the panther's teeth and claws. It had, in 
truth, been a wonderful escape, and spoke vol- 
umes for what a woman's nerve and coolness 
will do at times under trying circumstances. 

Many summers have passed since the tale was 



A WOMAN S NERVE. 113 

told me ; and the heads of both Jack Belmont 
and his wife are whitening ; but when they look 
at that little trinket, tbe former, I will be bound, 
says in his heart it was a lucky day for him 
when he found out what woman's nerve will do 
at times. 



The Utile trinket. 



114 



CHAPTER VL 

CHITAL-SHOOTING IN THE SEWALIK HILLS. 

Though there are many descriptions of game in 
India whose pursuit affords more excitement 
than that of the chital, or spotted deer {Axis 
maculatus)^ there are few that are more charming 
to a sportsman of a contemplative turn of mind, 
or that bring back pleasanter recollections of 
happy days passed amid the solitary grandeur 
and sylvan beauties of its hills and jungles. 
Strolling quietly along, with eye and ear on 
the qui vive, sights and sounds are noted and 
observed that, in the greater noise and excite- 
ment of a beat, are apt to pass unnoticed. Then, 
too, an you be successful, what a source of inward 
congratulation you possess, knowing that by your 
own individual exertions, and general knowledge 
of woodcraft, you have circumvented and shot 
a shy and wary animal, and added handsome 
trophies in the shape of skins and horns to your 



CHITAL-SHOOTING IN THE SEWALIK HILLS. 115 

collection ! Yes, they are, and always must be, 
very dear, those memories of bygone days, now, 
alas ! gone from me, and only " on memory's 
tablets traced " ; and though years have passed, 
the feeling of the keen morning air and the smell 
of the jungle seem to come back to me with 
undying freshness. 

In the days of which I write the Sewalik Hills 
afforded a grand field for this individual sport. 
These low hills bound one side of the valley of 
Dehra Doon, in the North- West Provinces of 
India, and extend in a westerly direction from 
beyond the Mohun Pass to the town of Hurdwar, 
on the Ganges. Rising to an altitude of some 
2000 feet, every variety of ground presents itself 
to the ambitious sportsman, whilst game of all 
sorts — elephant, tiger, bear, panther, sambhur, 
chital, riiuntjack, pea-fowl, jungle-fowl, black 
partridge, &c. — afforded a choice enough to 
content even the keenest and most exacting 
shikari. The tops of these hills form in many 
places table -lands of large extent, dotted at 
intervals with forest - trees, whilst their slopes 
are seamed with numerous gorges, whose sides, 
clothed with bamboo, b^hr, and numerous other 
trees and shrubs, offer splendid cover for game 
of all sorts. On the Doon side they merge 
into vast swampy grass-plains, intersected with 



V g y ■ V _ - -— ■"- g ^^^^—^gg" 



116 INDIAN SHIKAR. 

brooks and streams, and dotted about with 
timber and impenetrable patches of thorny cane- 
brake. On the other, or southern side, stretches 
for some miles a dense jungle of b^hr, baubul- 
trees, and bushes, till at last it gives way to a 
vast cultivated plain, where luxuriant fields of 
sugar-cane, millet, maize, and wheat attest the 
fertility of the soil. Altogether, the Sewalik 
Hills were very happy hunting-grounds. 

With this preface, I will proceed to give a 
slight sketch of the animal we are about to 
pursue, and then detail the results of some days 
I had in this sporting Elysium. I trust I may 
not be accused of repetition if I quote the de- 
scription of chital I gave in a former work 
entitled ' Shikar Sketches.' Here it is : — 

**The colour of the chital, or spotted deer, 
much resembles the fallow-deer, only that it is 
far more vivid and brilliant, and the whole 
shape and bearing of the animal is more game- 
looking. Its colour is a bright chestnut, tinged 
with red, with a black, or very dark -brown, 
stripe running down the back. The tail is 
generally rather long and somewhat bushy. 
There is, however, a very wide and marked 
difference between the chital and the fallow- 
deer, and that is in the shape of their horns ; 
for, whilst a fallow-deer's horns are palmated, a 



CHITAL-SHOOTING IN THE SEWALIK HILLS. 117 

chital's are exactly the reverse. They have, as 
a rule, only six points, but I have shot them 
with seven and even eight. The female, or 
hind chital, is of a much lighter build than 
the stag. She is also lighter in colour, and 
the white spots are not so well developed as 
in the stag. Chital are generally found in herds 
of from ten to forty or fifty, and I have seen 
herds which must have numbered over a hun- 
dred. They love shade and covert, and water 
is indispensable to them. . . . During the heat 
of the day they lie up in thick covert, and sally 
forth towards evening to feed and drink. They 
may generally be found up to about ten o'clock, 
when the sun begins to assert its power, and 
again about four o'clock in the afternoon. When 
alarmed, the chital utters a short, sharp bark, 
and this often betrays the presence of a tiger 
or a panther to the sportsman." 

With this prelude I will turn to the pages 
of my old battered Shikar Diary, and from its 
faded pages evoke the description of a few good 
days I had after these graceful deer with a 
brother ensign, one of that honoured rank that 
no longer exists. 

May 3. — MacLeod and I having obtained ten 
days' leave, despatched our kit to Kikri, near 
Hurdwar. Mac started in the morning, but I 



118 INDIAN SHIKAR. 

was delayed on court-martial duty, and could not 
get away till 3.30 p.m., by which time it was 
pretty warm. Forbes Gordon lent me a pony 
to ride half-way, and I did the remaining four- 
teen miles on Placid Joe, who belied his name 
sadly by trying to bolt twice. Got into camp 
at 6.30 — not bad, going twenty-eight miles in 
three hours. Found Mac had been out and 
had had a shot at a muntjack, or barking deer, 
but missed. He saw no end of chital, but 
couldn't get a shot. Before dinner had a swim 
in the Ganges, which was delightfully clear 
and cold, a striking contrast to the Ganges 
Canal at Roorkee. 

4th. — Out at daylight. Walked for an hour 
without seeing anything but a doe sambhur. 
Then got a touch of fever, so came back to camp 
and lay up till evening, when I had another 
swim, which, on the kill or cure principle, put 
me all right ! Mac had shots at chital, but didn't 
bag any. Sent on kit to Colepore. 

5th. — Marched to Colepore, six miles. We 
have engaged the services of one Juggoo by 
name as shikari. He vows he will show us 
plenty of game. Hope he will. On the way 
here Mac had shots at chital, but did not bag 
any. En route, and near camp, I came on the 
freshly killed body of a young sambhur, and 



CHITAL-SHOOTING IN THE SEWALIK HILLS. 119 

Juggoo swore he saw a tigress and two cubs 
sneaking away over the hills. There were fresh 
footprints all about, and I certainly caught sight 
of some animal moving through the jungle, but 
could not be certain what it was. I ran forward 
on to a little spur that jutted out from the main 
range of hills, and in the direction where Juggoo 
said he saw the animals; but when I reached 
the top nothing was visible except a lot of 
monkeys in a great state of commotion, and 
chattering like maniacs. The gorge below the 
spur on which I was standing was thickly clothed> 
with bamboo and grass, and from it I heard the 
sharp bark of a chital, which denoted that a 
tiger was about. It would have been folly 
attempting further pursuit, and as Juggoo said 
the tigers were sure to return to the kill, I left 
him behind to construct a couple of mechans 
over it, whilst I went on to camp to breakfast. 
About twelve o'clock Juggoo turned up, and 
reported all ready. We accordingly started for 
the scene of action, and took our places — myself 
in a tree on the side of the hill, about twenty 
yards from the kill, and Mac in another tree 
growing out of the edge of the cane-brake, 
and immediately overlooking the dead sambhur. 
Here we sat like two Patiences on two monu- 
ments for six mortal hours, but nothing more 



120 INDIAN SHIKAR. 

formidable than a few pea-fowl and jungle-fowl 
appeared. Once or twice we heard a chital bark 
near us, showing that the tigers were in the 
vicinity; but whether the brutes winded us, or 
what, I know not. At any rate, we never saw 
them. Just before we had decided on returning 
to camp, cramped with our long vigil, and dis- 
gusted at wasting the whole afternoon for noth- 
ing, we were startled by a tremendous fusilade 
in the direction of our tents. On arriving in 
camp we found that a herd of elephants had 
come down to a stream close by to drink, and 
had so frightened our respective bearers. Ram 
Deen and Moriar, who were more at home in 
the pleasant purlieus of the bazaar than in the 
jungle, that they had blazed away about twenty 
cartridges out of our shot-guns in order to scare 
away the pachyderms ! Annoyed at this dis- 
turbance of the jungle and useless waste of 
ammunition, we administered a serious lecture 
to those gentlemen on the heinousness of their 
crime, and the baneful quality of cowardice. As 
the lecture was accompanied by a slight physical 
demonstration in the shape of a sound cuffing, 
we trust it will bear good fruit. 

6th. — It has ! — to a certain extent only, it is 
true, but still some ; for about 2 a.m. we were 
woke up by a great hullabaloo, and our aflfrighted 



CHITAL-SHOOTING IN THE SEWALIK HILLS. 121 

domestics informed us in tremulous accents that 
** Hathi pher aya, sahib " (" The elephants have 
come again, sir"). We could hear them plainly 
enough, but as it was too dark to see, we went 
to roost again. Started at daylight. Mac tried 
the hills with Juggoo, but got nothing, though 
he saw several chital and sambhur. I tried the 
lower ground, taking an intelligent coolie with 
me. We walked for some time, seeing nothing 
but a hind sambhur and a couple of barking-deer. 
At last, on approaching a little nullah, my atten- 
dant gave me to understand that this was a 
likely spot to find chital, who were in the habit 
of resorting thither to lick a saline deposit that 
existed on one of the banks; so taking off my 
boots, I crept silently forward and peered through 
the bushes. The coolie was right, for in the bed 
of the nullah five chital were collected — a nice 
stag and four hinds. The stag was licking the 
reddish-coloured earth on the bank, one hind was 
lazily scratching her neck with her hind-foot, 
whilst the others were loitering about, occasion- 
ally reaching up to nibble the young shoots of 
some bushes that overhung the bank, taking a 
bite here and there at some extra-tempting piece 
of grass or foliage. The stag was only some 
eighty yards off, but from his position did not 
offer a good shot, standing, as he was, only three- 



122 INDIAN SHIKAR. 

quarters on, without exposing his shoulders. I 
waited some moments, but as he then began to 
move from me, I gave a sharp bark, imitating 
as nearly as I could the cry of a chital. This 
brought them all to attention. Up went their 
heads, and they cocked their ears, the stag 
whisking round and sniffing the air. I had him 
covered, and as soon as I got a clear sight I 
fired. The smoke hung for an instant in the 
moist swampy ground, and I could not see the 
effect of my shot for a moment, and when I 
could, to my disappointment all that presented 
itself to my vision was a fleeting glimpse of five 
white tails and dappled hides bobbing away 
through the jungle in the distance. When my 
intelligent coolie came up to me with my boots, 
a broad grin suffused his ugly countenance, and 
he remarked, in tones of satisfaction, ** Golee kaya, 
Huzoor'' (''He has eaten the bullet, your High- 
ness"). I thought not! but an examination of 
the spot where the stag had been standing 
proved the man was right ; for some ten yards 
farther on we found a drop of blood, then another, 
and then a well-defined blood-trail, with large 
splashes where the stag had brushed through 
grass and bushes in his passage. Some half- 
mile farther the blood began to decrease, and 
soon we came on a quantity of undigested grass, 



CHITAL-SHOOTING IN THE SEWALIK HILLS. 123 

evidently vomited by the stag, and showing 
that he was very sick. Another two hundred 
yards, and we came on him lying stone-dead. A 
nice stag with six points, a handsomely shaped 
head, and a beautiful glossy skin. Returned to 
camp much pleased. In the evening we both 
went out together. Saw a few barking-deer, at 
which we did not fire, and revisited the kill of 
yesterday. Found it nearly all eaten, and tiger- 
tracks all round; but it is hopeless trying to 
beat in this enormous jungle, and Juggoo, as 
well as ourselves, knows nothing of the bando- 
hast, so we must wait and gain experience. This 
night Juggoo shot a porcupine by waiting at 
the mouth of its earth. We intend sampling 
cotelettes de pore-epic for dinner to-morrow. 

7th. — Out on the hills with Juggoo at daylight. 
As I topped a little spur close to camp, a young 
stag sambhur jumped up. I fired a snap-shot, 
and bowled him over. Sorry I did so, for he 
proved to have but a poor head, and his horns 
were in velvet. However, Juggoo got up in 
time to do the hallal, so his flesh will be accep- 
table in camp. On reaching the plateau at the 
top of the hills, we walked some time without 
seeing anything, till at last I caught sight of 
a nice herd of chital browsing some distance 
off! Sinking the hill, we made a long detour 



124 INDIAN SHIKAR. 

to cut them off. Juggoo did well, taking me 
up to within 120 yards of the herd, which 
contained some nice stags. They were on the 
qui Vive, however, and bolted as soon as I 
peeped over a boulder of rock on the edge of 
the plateau. I fired at the best stag, which 
brought up the rear, and hit him, for we 
tracked him by his blood for some distance; 
but he got on to rocky ground, the blood 
ceased, and we eventually had to give him up. 
On return to camp found Mac, as usual, had 
been unlucky ; but he had shot a peacock and 
a black partridge close to camp. In the middle 
of the day I took my gun and went for a 
stroll round the tents, thinking I might get a 
jungle-fowl or two. I had not gone a couple 
of hundred yards when out of a patch of grass 
a barking-deer jumped up at my very feet, and 
I bowled him over with a charge of No. 5 
shot. He had a good head. What a demo- 
niacal expression these little beasts have, with 
their projecting tusk -like teeth and the deep 
dark furrows that run down their foreheads ! 

In the evening we both went out to a spot 
about a mile distant, where the grass was 
springing up after a jungle -fire, and where 
Juggoo said we should be certain to see chital, 
as it was a favourite feeding -ground. On ar- 



CHITA L-SHOOTING IN THE SEWALIK HILLS. 125 

riving we found numerous fresh droppings, which 
proved the truth of his assertion. Ensconcing 
ourselves amid some b^hr- bushes, we awaited 
the advent of our quarry ; nor had we long 
to wait, for soon a nice herd, containing about 
sixteen chital, hove in sight, leisurely wending 
their way to the pasture. It was a pretty 
sight, and we watched with interest the motions 
of the lord of the herd as he punted any 
loitering lady of his harem, and kept the 
younger stags in order when they evinced a 
disposition to be on too familiar terms with 
him or any of the hinds. There was one other 
fairish stag, and this one we decided I should 
fire at, whilst Mac, in consideration of his bad 
luck, was to try conclusions with the big stag. 
On they came, quite unsuspicious of danger, 
till within some seventy yards of our position, 
when the leading hind stopped and gave an 
impatient stamp with her fore-foot. This was 
our moment, and we both fired. My stag fell 
to the shot, got up, staggered on a bit, and 
then rolled over. Mac hit his stag, but too 
far back, and he went on. We tracked him 
till dark, and then reluctantly had to give up. 
We may find him to-morrow, however. N,B. — 
Cdtelettes de porc-Spic are excellent, and served 
with sauce made from the berries of the b^hr- 



126 INDIAN SHIKAR. 

bush, resemble the most delicate pork. Mem. 
— To instruct Juggoo to procure another aussitdt 
que possible. Sent the camp on to Kansaro, 
sixteen miles by road. We intend to shoot our 
way there by a shorter route over the hills in 
the morning. 

8ih. — Both started at daylight, and after 
going about three miles, separated. I saw a 
few sambhur — one splendid stag amongst them, 
but I could not manage to get a shot at him. 
He was too leary, and I would not risk a snap- 
shot, hoping I might come on him again, which, 
alas ! I did not. Some two miles farther on I 
came on a solitary stag chital bearing a splendid 
head. He was loitering along, browsing occa- 
sionally, and rubbing his antlers against a tree. 
I followed him patiently, skipping from tree 
to tree behind him, in the hopes of getting a 
favourable shot, till some abominable monkeys 
spotted me when I was within 150 yards^ and 
alarmed him. I had to take the shot, such as 
it was, and — missed ! Better this, though, than 
wounding and losing him, as I probably should 
have had I not killed him outright, as Juggoo 
is no great hand at tracking. After this I 
saw chital innumerable, but did not manage to 
get a shot. They were all too wide-awake, 
and the jungle so open, that I would not risk 









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CHITAL-SHOOTING IN THE SEWALIK HILLS. 127 

a long shot on the chance of failure. Close to 
camp, however, I got a chance, and got in at 
a fair stag, a six-pointer, dropping him in his 
tracks. On reaching camp, promptly indulged 
in a " gin-and-tonic," that most admirable drink ; 
for I had had a long tramp, and, ergo^ deserved 
a "long drink." Arrived in camp, I found it 
pitched in a most picturesque spot below a 
rugged hill, the slopes of which were clothed 
with clumps of bamboo and occasional forest- 
trees. Beyond stretched a verdant glade, with 
a little brook purling along a pebbly bottom, 
most suggestive of trout and home. Altogether 
a charming spot. I found Mac's luck had at 
last turned. He had bagged a hind chital out 
of a large herd that he had come across. He 
had missed the stag and killed this hind, which 
was immediately behind him. She had a lovely 
skin, and proved a yeld hind, so her demise was 
not to be regretted. He had also bagged a 
barking-deer and a green pigeon with his shot- 
gun when close to camp, so our larder is well 
stocked. We both went out in the evening 
to another grazing - place ; but the Fates were 
averse, both of us missing good chances — at 
least within a hundred yards. My chance was 
at one of the best stags I have yet seen, and I 
feel inclined to " put my head in a bag " accord- 



128 INDIAN SHIKAR. 

ingly. Mirahile dictu, it is very cold, and we 
are glad to sit round a fire after dinner. 

9 th. — A real good day. I started before day- 
light with Juggoo for a salt-lick that he knew of 
some three miles distant. It lay between two 
spurs that projected out from the main range. 
The ground on either side of the spurs that 
formed the little valley between them was com- 
paratively bare ; only a tree or clump of bamboos 
standing here and there amongst the boulders of 
rock that clothed the sides. The indentation — 
for the miniature valley was little else — was 
covered with short sweet grass, now just shoot- 
ing up after a jungle-fire. It ran up for some 
300 yards, and then terminated abruptly in a 
great slab of rock that rose sheer up some forty 
feet, thus forming a regular cul-de-sac. At the 
base of this rock, from beneath which trickled 
a tiny rivulet, was the salt - lick. Creeping 
cautiously up to the summit of one of the spurs 
before it was yet light, we ensconced ourselves 
behind an old dead stump, and drawing a few 
branches around to screen us more effectually, 
awaited the turn of events. Juggoo said we 
should not have to wait long. Nor had we. 
Soon the twitter of birds and a faint flush over 
the snow -clad peaks of the Himalayas — miles 
away, but still distinctly visible — announced the 



CHITAL-SHOOTING IN THE SEWALIK HILLS. 129 

coming dawn. Then a flood of rosy light burst 
like magic over the distant hill -tops, melting 
gradually into a deep golden colour, and soon 
old Sol rose in all his glory, causing every drop 
of moisture on grass and leaf to sparkle like 
diamonds, lighting up the valley of the Doon 
below us, and dispelling the heavy banks of mist 
that hung over it like a pall. Lost in the 
beauties of the scene, I was in dreamland, when 
I was recalled to a sense of where I was by 
Juggoo clutching my arm convulsively, and the 
one whispered word, ^^Ata " (" They are coming "). 
Looking down the little valley, I saw a sight 
that would gladden the heart of any sportsman 
— to wit, a very large herd of chital slowly 
wending their way up. I don't think there 
could have been less than a hundred — stags, 
hinds, and fawns all included. On they trooped, 
browsing as they came ; the fawns skipping about 
and playing with all the innocence of youth. 
They seemed quite to fill the little gorge, and 
the rear was brought up by a splendid stag. The 
broad black stripe down his back and the deep 
colour of his coat betokened age and the rever- 
ence due to years, a fact of which his companions 
seemed fully aware ; for ever and anon he would 
dive into the throng, and administer a reproof 
to some erring member with a sharp prod of his 

VOL. I. I 



130 INDIAN SHIKAR. 

sweeping antlers. I confess I was bewitched at 
the sight, and could not make up my mind what 
to do. As they made their way up, the leaders 
reached the salt-lick, and indulged in their 
morning tonic ; whilst others lay down, and 
some browsed or quenched their thirst at the 
little stream preparatory to settling down for 
the day. At last Juggoo's repeated whispers 
of " Maro, sahih " (" Shoot, sir "), recalled me 
to a sense of what I was out for — viz., to shoot 
chital, and not to gaze at them with the eyes 
of a visionary ; so, selecting the big stag, as he 
happened to be nearest me, I took a careful aim 
at his shoulder and fired. Down he went. At 
the report the herd started and huddled up. 
The left barrel accounted for another stag before 
they had realised their danger. Huddled up 
in bewilderment, they gave me time to cram 
in a couple more cartridges, knock over a third 
stag, and miss a fourth. The astonished animals 
now all dashed up towards the sheet of rock 
I have previously alluded to, which of course 
arrested their progress, giving me time to put 
in a couple more shots, which resulted in the 
death of a brace of hinds. They then turned 
and scattered, some racing past below me, others 
scrambling up the opposite spur, whilst two 
fawns came straight up to my post, and passed 



CHITAL-SHOOTING IN THE SEWALIK HILLS. 131 

within a few yards of me. I had time for a 
couple more shots at a stag; but I was so be- 
wildered by this concourse of deer flying in every 
direction, that I only wounded, and eventually 
lost him, and soon they were all out of sight. 
Needless to say, I was delighted; and as to 
Juggoo, he said he had never seen such shikar, 
and in his own estimation rose considerably. It 
was a curious sight, and a good bag; but still 
I would sooner have bagged one good chital after 
a careful stalk than have shot twenty thus. On 
return to camp found Mac very despondent. He 
had had several shots at chital and barking-deer, 
but missed them all : he had, however, picked 
up the skull and horns of a magnificent stag 
chital, evidently killed by a tiger. This he vowed 
he would say he had shot^ and bound me to 
secrecy on the subject when we rejoined the 
regiment ! In the evening I went for a stroll 
round camp with my shot-gun, and knocked 
over a barking -deer (Cervulus aureus) and a 
green pigeon ; then sat down, smoked a pipe, 
sketched, and thought generally on the delights 
of jungle-life, and this locality in particular. 

10th. — Went out over the low ground in the 
morning. Saw a good many chital, also a hog- 
deer {Axis porcinus) ; but they were very wary, 
and only gave me snap - shots, all of which I 



132 INDIAN SHIKAR. 

missed. Mac bagged a hind chital, and his 
spirits have risen considerably. In the evening 
we both went out. Mac bagged a barking-deer, 
at which he said he made a wonderful shot, as 
it was standing end on gazing at him 150 yards 
distant. I expect he wants some judging-distance 
drill, as a barking -deer at 100 yards, in the 
position he describes, is a small object to hit, 
and dear old Mac is not a good shot. I saw 
nothing, with the exception of a lame boar ; and 
as pig-sticking here is an impossibility, I knocked 
him over with a view to testing the delicacy 
known as " soused countenance." On the way 
home, when it was nearly dark, heard a tiger 
kill a chital in some heavy grass -jungle. At 
least, from Juggoo's abject funk and the sounds, 
I gather that this is what took place, though 
of course I could see nothing. 

llih. — Out at daylight. Tried the hills for 
sambhur. Saw a good stag and five hinds, but 
could not get near them. Had a long shot at 
some chital, but missed. Descending a narrow 
gorge on our way home we heard an awful row, 
as if two gigantic tom-cats were " having it out " 
on the tiles. Juggoo said it was panthers fight- 
ing or love-making! Anyhow, he was in an 
awful funk, and strongly disapproved of my 
going to see the cause of the row. I insisted, 



CHITAL-SHOOTING IN THE SEWALIK HILLS. 133 

however, on his accompanying me, which he did 
with evident reluctance ; and when we were near 
the spot, he developed, more nativo, a nervous 
cough, which spoilt all chance of our seeing the 
combatants. The fresh pugs, where a scuffle, 
amatory or otherwise, had taken place, were, 
however, plainly visible, and we followed the 
tracks some distance, but lost them amid a mass 
of boulders. In the evening I went out over the 
low ground, and soon came on a fine stag chital. 
Creeping up, I accomplished a most successful 
stalk by taking advantage of clumps of bamboos 
and gigantic ant-hills, some of which were at 
least six feet high. I got within sixty yards of 
the unsuspicious stag and bowled him over. As 
he lay kicking about on the ground I laid down 
my rifle, and running in seized him by the horns 
with my left hand, whilst I felt for my hunting- 
knife with my right. This seemed to revive 
him, and he struggled up, floundering to such an 
extent that I had to take hold of his other antler. 
A tremendous scuffle then ensued, the stag getting 
on his feet and butting at me, whilst he struck 
out viciously with his fore-feet, catching me a 
sharp blow on the ankle, cutting right through 
the leather of my boot and into my flesh. Such 
was his strength that I several times nearly had 
to let go ; but Juggoo came up just in time, and 



134 INDIAN SHIKAR. 

drawing my knife from its sheath promptly ended 
his struggles. As I limped home a nice herd of 
chital cantered across a glade in the jungle about 
120 yards in front of me. The stag bringing up 
the rear seemed to be lagging a bit, and to ex- 
hibit the appearance of being a wounded animal ; 
so, aiming well in front of him, I fired and 
knocked him over. He proved a fine beast, a 
six-pointer, with a lovely glossy hide. On ex- 
amining him I found a bullet-wound in his neck, 
very fresh and just healing over, so presume he 
must be a stag I wounded on the 8 th or pre- 
viously. Mac also went out in the evening to 
wait at a favourite grazing -pi ace, but, feeling 
very hot, sat down under a tree and went fast 
asleep ! The intelligent coolie who accompanied 
him said a fine herd of chital came, but the sahib 
made so much noise (I presume he snored) that 
they ran away ! On nearing camp, Juggoo 
spotted a jungle-fowl going to roost on a bare 
tree some sixty or seventy yards distant, and 
wanted me to fire at it with my rifle. This I 
declined, but said he might have a shot. Getting 
behind a tree and steadying the rifle against its 
trunk, after aiming for about five minutes, he 
fired, and to my utter astonishment down flopped 
the jungle-cock minus his head, which had been 
cut clean off. Of course it was an awful fluke. 



CHITAL-SHOOTING IN THE SEWALIK HILLS. 135 

and I told the lucky marksman so, at which he 
seemed somewhat offended, intimating that such 
a feat was one he could perform any day. It was 
very cold to-night, so we had a fire in jfront of 
the tent, with the khanats (sides) drawn up 
round the fire, and the table placed within the 
recess thus formed, sitting ourselves inside the 
tent. The menu of our dinner to-night deserves 
to be recorded as proof of what the jungle can 
afford in the shape of good grub : Hare -soup, 
pork -chops, sauce aux fruits de hehr, stewed 
pigeons, roast jungle -fowl, brain curry, chital- 
kidney toast, lemon-pudding. 

12th. — Both went out at daylight after 
sambhur. I only saw one hind ; but on the way 
back I saw a nice stag chital, with four points, 
grazing on the slope of a spur. I was on the 
opposite spur, and the distance across must have 
been a good 250 yards ; but I was tired of walk- 
ing, and would not take the trouble to stalk him ; 
so, lying down and resting my rifle on a slab of 
rock, I took a careful aim at his shoulder and 
fired. To my astonishment he tumbled over 
and came rolling down the hill. He was shot 
through the loins, and so paralysed. Juggoo 
soon put him out of his misery. His horns, 
though, alas ! were in velvet, a fact I was pre- 
cluded from ascertaining owing to the distance. 



136 INDIAN SHIKAR. 

A lucky shot, but a decided fluke. In the even- 
ing I had a shot at a good stag chital as he was 
standing knee-deep in a little stream, but missed 
him shamefully. Mac got nothing. Sent on kit 
to Purdoni. 

ISih. — Started up the hills at daylight, intend- 
ing to shoot our way over them to Purdoni. After 
going about two miles together we separated, and 
soon after, whilst forcing my way through some 
thick young bamboos, a beast jumped up in front 
of me. I let fly without seeing what it was, and 
then, to my regret, found I had shot a hind sam- 
bhur. Juggoo and I soon had her skin off, and 
hanging up the carcass in a tree for Mr Juggoo's 
future consumption, we rolled up the tongue and 
marrow-bones in the hide, and continued on our 
way. We had a ten-mile tramp in front of us, 
and I was going carelessly along the Hurdwar 
road when my attention was arrested by a single 
whispered word from Juggoo, " Chank " {Anglicey 
a stag chital). Looking in the direction in which 
he pointed, I saw a beauty rubbing his antlers 
against a tree in the jungle not 100 yards from 
us. Sinking down, I crawled into a ditch that 
bordered the road, and, steadying my elbow on 
the bank, got a lovely shot. The result was that 
the best stag of the trip was added to my bag. 
He was a seven-pointer, with the velvet nearly 



CHITAL-SHOOTING IN THE SEWALIK HILLS. 137 

off his horns, only a few dry strips adhering to 
them. Taking off his hide and head, we tramped 
on, and reached Purdoni at two o'clock, hot, 
tired, and dusty. A mussuck of water and a 
good tiffin of marrow-bones and chupaties, how- 
ever, soon refreshed me. Mac had had several 
shots, but got nothing. He had come a short cut 
over the hills, "a frightfully precipitous route, 
where I had in places to hang on by my eyelids," 
as he described it. After rewarding Juggoo and 
the intelligent coolie suitably, we mounted our 
tats for the moonlight ride back to Roorkee, 
which place we reached about 10.45 p.m., and so 
ended a very enjoyable and charming trip. 

Such was the result of one out of the many 
trips I had in the lovely valley of Dehra Doon 
and on the Sewalik Hills. The amount of game 
bagged was, perhaps, not great ; but still, when 
the glorious scenery, the free life, and all the 
concomitant charms are taken into consideration, 
it was well worth the trouble. Experienced 
sportsmen, with better batteries than we pos- 
sessed, might no doubt have done far more. I 
was shooting with a 12 -bore C. F. rifle, by Henry 
of Edinburgh, which subsequently did good ex- 
ecution amongst tigers, bison, &c. ; whilst Mac- 
Leod had only a 10-bore muzzle-loading rifle, 
both weapons of far too heavy calibre for deer- 



138 INDIAN SHIKAR. 

shooting. Doubtless, had we possessed Express 
rifles of .450 or .500 bore, we should have done 
better ; but they were not well known in India 
in the days that I write of, and their price, too, 
was beyond the reach of an ensign's modest 
means. Since those days I have been fortunate 
enough to participate in and enjoy many and 
varied forms of sport, but the recollection of few 
come back with greater vividness than those 
jolly days spent amid the lovely scenery of the 
Doon valley and the Sewalik Hills, when 

" All the world was young, lad." 



139 



CHAPTER VIL 

SMALL-GAME SHOOTING AND NAT URAL- HISTORY 

NOTES ROUND DELHI. 

I HAVE often been asked what sort of small-game 
shooting is to be had in India, by those who cannot 
aflford to go in for big game, and yet want to know 
what sort of sport is obtainable by a man who 
has neither the time nor the means to pursue the 
larger fercB naturcB. I will therefore endeavour to 
supply the want, and select as a field of operations 
the vicinity of Delhi, for during my sojourn there 
it aflforded about as grand a hunting-ground as 
could be desired. Not only was game existent in 
numbers, but in such variety that even the most 
exacting sportsman could hardly be dissatisfied 
with his bag at the end of a day. I allude, of 
course, to a man who could hold fairly straight. 

The approximate cost of such an expedition 
would, however, be difficult to calculate with 
nicety, as much must depend on the scale on 



140 INDIAN SHIKAR. 

which it is conducted. If the sportsman is modest 
in his requirements, the expense will be trifling, 
and, with the exception of the hire of a couple 
of bullock-carts and the pay of a few beaters, it 
will not cost him more than if he were living in 
cantonments. It is, however, hardly worth while 
entering into minute details on such a subject, for 
I presume no man would make a journey to India 
for the express purpose of shooting small game, 
when at a less cost he can obtain it nearer home. 
As an example, however, of what sport could be 
obtained, and is, I believe, still obtainable round 
Delhi (for I had a letter from a friend at Delhi 
but a short time ago giving items of a capital 
bag), I will, for the benefit of any sportsman who 
may find himself located in the city of the Moguls, 
narrate the result of two of my trips. 

On November 23d, myself and two brother 
officers. Captain (now Lieutenant-Colonel) Clay and 
Ensign (now Lieutenant- Colonel) Chalmers, having 
obtained three days' leave of absence, started off 
our kit in a couple of bullock-carts for a village 
named Kereala, twelve miles distant from Delhi, 
on the Rhotok road. A word, perhaps, as to kit 
may not be out of place here, /tern, two p^l tents, 
weighing, with poles and iron pegs, some 50 lb. 
each. These tents were about eight feet long by 
nine feet wide, and were quite big enough to ad- 



SMALL-GAME SHOOTING ROUND DELHI. 141 

mit two camp-beds. Clay occupied one tent in 
virtue of his seniority, whilst Chalmers and I 
doubled up in the other. Item^ a box with our 
crockery, another with stores, in the shape of 
wine, beer, soda-water, tea, sugar, &c. /ifem, 
three fold-up chairs, and ditto wash-hand stands, 
with brass basins, commonly known as chillumchis. 
Item, three charpoys, or native bedsteads, with 
bedding rolled up in waterproof sheets. Item, 
ammunition and gun-cases. Item, a small port- 
manteau with change of clothing. Horse-clothing 
and sundries, with servants' kit, completed the 
two loads ; and as we saw the carts rumble off 
from our quarters in the Fort, piled up with our 
impedimenta, on the top of which were perched 
our native servants, accompanied by their wives 
and dusky broods, we inwardly hoped that they 
would not break down on the way. 

Of course, in India, one has a whole army of 
servants — bearer, khidmutghar, bhisti, dhobie, 
mfehter, and syce and grass-cutter to each horse ; 
but on these occasions we used to cut our retinue 
down to the lowest dimensions, and our following 
consisted of one khidmutghar, who did the cook- 
ing and waited at table ; one bhisti ; one m^hter, 
who had charge of my two dogs, a greyhound and 
a cross-bred terrier, who were my constant com- 
panions ; and our respective bearers, syces, and 



142 INDIAN SHIKAK 

grass-cutters. Altogether our native attendants 
numbered twelve — a large number, seemingly, to 
attend to the wants of three British officers ; but 
it must be remembered that in Bengal and the 
North-West Provinces " caste " is rampant, and 
you are obliged to have a separate servant for 
every individual menial office. It is diflFerent in 
the Bombay and Madras Presidencies, where a 
good " boy " will valet, cook, and do for you 
generally. 

Tiffin over at the mess, we mounted our ponies 
and set off about 3 p.m. Our way at first lay 
through the principal street, the Chandnee Chowk, 
and progress here was necessarily slow, thronged 
as it was with a noisy, gay-garmented crowd of 
pedestrians, groaning camels, native swells on 
screaming tattoos, with their manes and tails dyed 
a deep red, huge elephants, and all the magna 
committante caterva of a native city. However, 
at last we pushed our way through, and on get- 
ting clear of the city gates, were able to progress 
at a smart canter, which landed us at Kereala 
about 6 P.M. Here we found our little camp 
pitched under a giant banyan-tree, whose de- 
pendent roots made the single treel bear all the 
appearance of a miniature forest. 

Our camp arrangements had been left to the 
care of "iEsop," Clay's khidmutghar, and well 



SMALL-GAME SHOOTING ROUND DELHI. 143 

had that worthy acquitted himself; for the site 
was well chosen to windward of the village, and 
some half-mile distant from it. A well, too, was 
in handy proximity. After dismounting and im- 
bibing a refreshing "peg" of gin -and -tonic, a 
grateful beverage with which to wash the diist 
out of our throats, we hastily donned our bathing- 
drawers, whilst the bhisti gave us our evening 
tub. A simple arrangement this, consisting of 
squatting on a piece of board whilst the bhisti, 
from his skin mussuck, treats you to a douche. 
Then we sat down to a dinner of tinned soup, 
curry, roast-fowl, and a sweet omelette. The 
repast finished, a roaring wood-fire was lit, for 
the nights are cold in the North- West Provinces, 
and round this we sat till about 10 p.m. smoking 
the pipe of peace and contentment, and making 
plans for the morrow. 

24:ih. — A lovely day — not too hot, and with a 
pleasant breeze blowing, -^sop has some twenty 
coolies of various grades of intelligence waiting 
for us, one of whom, in charge of the tiffin-basket, 
is told off to accompany us. Though not all " old 
soldiers " in the strict sense of the word, we have 
learnt the necessity of not cutting ourselves off 
from our base of supplies ; and besides, shooting 
is often thirsty work, and throats are apt to get 
parched after much walking beneath an Indian 



144 INDIAN SHIKAK. 

sun. By 10 A. M. we have breakfasted, and, mount- 
ing our ponies, ride off to the first ground we 
intend beating. This consists of several hhets or 
fields of sugar-cane and hajri (a high sort of reed- 
like grain, and favourite covert for game). Two 
of us go forward, whilst one walks with the 
beaters. The fun soon begins, the ball being 
opened by Clay, who bowls over a hare. Then 
black {Francolinus vulgaris) and grey {Franco- 
linus pondicherryanum) partridges whir up at 
intervals, the former affording most sporting 
shots, as on rising they fly up perpendicularly 
some twenty to thirty feet, with a loud " whir," 
before they sail off on their line of flight for the 
next Jchht. A bonny bird is the black partridge 
— handsome in plumage, at least the male is, 
with his black, white-spotted breast, strong on 
the wing, and game-looking withal. Not bad 
eating either is he, though somewhat dry, like 
most Indian game. The grey partridge, on the 
contrary, though he affords a pretty shot, is 
generally left unmolested, except by the veriest 
"griffin." Smaller than our English bird, and 
without the horse-shoe on his breast, his known 
foul-feeding habits debar him from a place of 
honour on the list of Indian game. The khet 
is a small one, but affords, for its size, pretty 
shooting. Then we move on to the next, where 



SMALL-GAME SHOOTING ROUND DELHL 145 

the same game is repeated, an additional element 
of excitement being added from the loud shouts 
of the beaters of " Him ! him ! '' ("Deer ! deer ! "). 
But the wily antelope (Antilope cervicapra) are 
too wily for us, and breaking back through the 
beaters, emerge at the far end, and go stotting 
away in graceful bounds till they disappear from 
sight. There are five does, a couple of well-grown 
fawns, and a lovely black buck, whose sleek ebony 
coat and spiral horns make us itch to possess 
them. However, shooting antelope with shot is 
not much fun, and not to be compared to stalking 
them ; besides, there were any quantity about 
nearer Delhi, and so we do not share the disappoint- 
ment of the beaters, though we should have liked 
one or two specimens of antelope to add variety 
to the bag. And so the game goes on till all the 
sugar-cane and hajri is beaten, some aflFording 
lots of shooting, others less, but all contributing 
their quota to the game-sticks. 

It is now 2 P.M. and tiffin- time ; so, making for 
a grove of mango-trees, we discuss that pleasant 
meal, and after a smoke and a rest, resume opera- 
tions. Our first beat is a small patch of scrub- 
jungle, consisting mostly of jow, a sort of dwarf 
Cyprus, interspersed with coarse rough grass. 
Forming line across this, a chikara buck {Gazella 
Bennettii) rises at my feet, and a charge of No. 5 

VOL. I. K 



l^ 



146 INDIAN SHIKAR. 

shot bowls him over. Very acceptable will he 
be to our larder, for the venison is capital. A 
few more hares, an odd partridge or two, and, 
strange to say, a couple of snipe — which, rising 
simultaneously, are neatly accounted for right 
and left by Chalmers — are the result of the beat. 
After this some dahl khets produce eight to ten 
couple of quail and a hare, which, going away 
wounded, affords Fanny (my greyhound) a pretty 
little course before she kills it. Poor old Fanny, 
what fun you and I used to have ! When I first 
took Fanny out she used to bolt after every hare 
she saw; but one day, not knowing she was in 
pursuit, I fired at a hare in some thick scrub. I 
missed the hare, but drilled three neat little holes 
through Fanny's ears with No. 5 shot. It was a 
lesson to her. From that day forth she never 
left my heel till told to go ; and, oddly enough, 
if I shot a hare, she would always retrieve it most 
tenderly ; but if she killed one herself after a 
course, nothing would induce her to touch it when 
once dead, though with a jackal or fox she was a 
perfect savage, even when their lives were ex- 
tinct, and broke them up as a fox-hound would. 
Soon after, I spy a chikara standing by the edge 
of a Jchet. A convenient nullah affords a good 
opportunity of stalking it ; so, taking my rifle, 
I proceed to carry out this intention, whilst my 



SMALL-GAME SHOOTING ROUND DELHL 147 

companions sit down and smoke a pipe. To make 
a long story short, I get up within eighty yards, 
and — miss ! Turning homewards, we come across 
an old, dry well. Standing well back, we direct 
the coolies to throw in some stones. As these 
rattle down the sides of the cavity, there is a 
great flapping of wings, and out dash half-a-dozen 
blue rock-pigeons (Columba intermedia). Three 
fall to our six barrels, whilst another, wobbling 
on hard hit, falls a little distance oflF. A couple 
of pea-hens, shot on our way home, complete 
the bag — no, I am wrong, for I shot a peacock 
actually in camp ! It was on this wise : Just 
before dinner, happening to look up into the tree 
under which our camp was pitched, I saw a large 
dark object. What this could be was a matter 
of discussion. I said it was a vulture, Chalmers 
that it was a peacock, whilst Clay said we were 
both wrong, and it was only a patch of extra 
thickly growing leaves. To settle matters I took 
a shot at it, when down flopped the bird almost 
right on to -^sop, who was completing his culinary 
operations, scattering the embers of his fire, and 
with a cry of " Chok, chok ! " legged it right oflF 
amongst the bullocks and ponies, hotly pursued 
by my terrier Nelly. Then a most ludicrous scene 
took place. The bovines stampeded, galloping off 
into the darkness with their tails cocked in the 



148 INDIAN SHIKAR. 

air, as if the most venomous gad-fly had stung 
them. Two of our ponies got loose, and imme- 
diately engaged in a pitched battle, with much 
screaming and many resounding hoof - strokes. 
The native servants and their womenkind all 
began a regular hullabaloo, whilst ^sop loudly 
denounced the unhappy bird in choicest epithets 
of that very copious vocabulary of abuse, the 
tongue of Hindustan, for upsetting one of his 
pans and spoiling " master's " dinner ; whilst all 
the while " master " and his friends were in fits 
of laughter. At last order was restored, and the 
fugitive captured. A pleasant dinner and much 
chat, whilst we cleaned our guns, wound up a 
very pleasant day, and only made us keener for 
the sport of the morrow. 

25th. — After breakfast we gave directions for 
the camp to be moved to Mongolpoor, a village 
eight miles distant (where we heard there was 
some good snipe-ground), intending to shoot our 
way there. We rode out about three miles be- 
fore beginning to shoot, and the ground we tra- 
versed was of much the same description as that 
gone over the previous day. We did not, how- 
ever, get such a good bag, either in quantity or 
variety. This was attributable to two causes : 
first, owing to the covert not being so good ; 
and secondly, that a good deal of our time was 



SMALL-GAME SHOOTING ROUND DELHI. 149 

devoted to stalking antelope, of which we saw 
several herds. This involved considerable delay, 
and was not productive of much, owing to various 
causes, our bad shooting being the principal one. 
Clay was the only lucky one of the party, and he 
managed to knock over two black buck, one bear- 
ing a good head. Still our game-sticks made not 
a bad show at the end of the day, festooned as 
they were with black partridge, snipe, quail, and 
pea-fowl, whilst the two black buck and sundry 
hares added variety to the bag. 

When we reached the village of Mongolpoor, 
at about 5 p.m., not a sign was there of our camp; 
so, after showering much abuse on the head of the 
absent ^sop, all we could do was to sit down 
and patiently await his arrival. Not that the 
delay was unfruitful, however, for it oflFered us 
many opportunities of observing the numerous 
and various inhabitants, furred and feathered, of 
the mango-grove under which we decided to pitch 
our camp. 

Whilst we are waiting, let us look round and 
spot the various birds and animals that may be 
observed in such localities. The quadruped that 
first claims our attention is the common striped 
squirrel {Sciurus palmaru), that ubiquitous little 
rodent which no one, after twenty -four hours' 
sojourn in India, can have failed to observe. Is 



150 INDIAN SHIKAR. 

he not a cheeky little rascal, bobbing round the 
giant trunks of the mango-trees, frisking among 
the branches, and scuttling from one tree to 
another with graceful antics and shrill squeaks ? 
He is full of life, impudence, and fun ; and 
though often troublesome from his impudent 
familiarity and incessant chirping, his beauty 
causes you to forgive him and tolerate his 
presence. In a garden they are most mis- 
chievous, doing much damage to fruit ; but, on 
the other hand, they do a deal of good by 
destroying many insects, notably beetles and 
white ants (that curse of the East), both in 
their larval and mature stages. He may be 
briefly described as about 13 inches in length, 
of which the tail is quite half. Here is Jerdon's 
description : " Above, dusky greenish-grey, with 
three yellowish -white stripes along the whole 
length of the back, and two fainter lines on each 
side ; beneath, whitish ; tail with the hairs varie- 
gated with red and black ; ears rounded." With 
all due deference, though, to the great Indian 
naturalist, I must confess I have not noticed the 
red hairs in the tail, for, if they do exist, it must 
be the faintest tinge of red. To me they always 
seemed more cinnamon - colour, about the shade 
of a corn-crake's wing, so much used for dressing 
trout-flies. He is a jolly little fellow, however, 



SMALL-GAME SHOOTING ROUND DELHI. 151 

Master Sciurus, and If you have nothing better 
to do, it will often afford you much amusement 
to watch his gambols and mad pranks. 

And there is a curious Indian mythological 
legend connected with him, related by Sir Edwin 
Arnold. It runs thus : It is said that the god 
Shiva once saw a squirrel dipping his tail into 
the Bay of Bengal time after time and then 
shaking it dry on the shore. "Absurd little 
animal," the god said, **why do you do thus?" 
" Oh, Thousand - handed ! " the squirrel replied, 
"the palm-tree holding the nest which contains 
my wife and children has fallen into the water 
by reason of a typhoon, and I am trying to 
bale the Bay of Bengal dry with my tail to 
save my dear family." Upon that the deity 
smiled graciously, and stooping down, stroked 
the tiny beast, leaving on its back the marks 
of his fingers and thumb, and afterwards com- 
manded the ocean to retire until the little 
squirrel had recovered his nest and belongings. 

Talking of gambols, look at that troop of the 
common Bengal monkey {Macacus rhesus). They 
will furnish you with food for reflection and 
amusement by the hour. I must confess to a 
sneaking affection for ixionkeys ; they are so 
human, and yet such caricatures of depraved 
humanity. Not quite the right thing to admire 



152 INDIAN SHIKAR. 

or study, perhaps, but yet, in the animal world, 
a subject that cannot but make us smile. We 
some of us admire — though I am bound to say I 
am not among the number — the wit of, and affect 
to be amused by, Hogarth's satires on the shady 
side of human nature, but these sink into in- 
significance compared with the manners and 
customs of the monkey tribe. Yes, very human 
are they, alas ! with all the worst traits of 
humanity developed in them. Humanity, with- 
out a reasoning soul, they possess to a certain 
extent, though in animals this is called instinct. 
But I must not dwell further on this subject, 
only, if any of my readers wish to learn more 
of the ape tribe, let them go to the monkey- 
house at the Zoo, and if there they can preserve 
a grave face — well, they are more than human. 

But what is that dark-grey, lithe little form, 
with pointed nose, that has emerged from a 
group of rough stones close by where we are 
sitting, and which, after staring at us impudent- 
ly, trots off in an unconcerned manner? It is 
a mungoose {Herpestes griseus), or ichneumon, 
an animal well known in India, and about whose 
snake-poison-resisting properties so many argu- 
ments have taken place. Certain it is that 
the mungoose is a deadly enemy to snakes ; 
but I think they owe their immunity from the 



SMALL-GAME SHOOTING ROUND DELHL 153 

effects of the snake's poisonous fangs to the 
fact of being the quickest of the two in attack, 
and collaring the snake before the reptile can 
strike them. Be that as it may, the mungoose 
is always looked on with a friendly eye in India, 
though I fear he is addicted to egg-stealing, 
and is not particular in his diet. A dear friend 
of mine, and good naturalist, the late General 
M ^Master, once told me of a case in point — viz., 
that on the stomach of a mungoose killed near 
Secunderabad being opened, it was found to 
contain a quail, a portion of a custard-apple, a 
small wasp's nest, a blood-sucker, and a num- 
ber of insects ! Truly, Mr Herpestes may be 
termed omnivorous ! One word more, though, 
in his favour — he is a remorseless enemy of 
rats. 

As dusk approaches there will be a great com- 
motion among the tree-tops, and the large fox- 
bats (Pteropus medius), more commonly known 
as the flying-fox, will be observed flying off on 
their nightly rounds. There is a small pond 
near the grove, and as they launch out into 
the air, they may be seen to fly down cautiously 
and touch the water. Jerdon says he was unable 
to ascertain if they drank on such occasions, or 
merely dipped their bodies in the water, but 
the jfriend to whom I have alluded before, the 



154 INDIAN SHIKAR. 

late General M'Master, held the opinion, based 
on careful observation, that they actually drank 
when they touched the water, and, from my 
own observations made in his company, I am 
inclined to this belief. They are supposed to 
be fructivorous, and they undoubtedly do great 
damage to fruit of all kinds, especially to 
mangoes ; but they are insectivorous also, for 
if they are closely watched they will be seen 
to turn in the air, as if hawking moths or other 
insects. At Kamptee, in the Central Provinces, 
where I was subsequently stationed, these flying- 
foxes were a regular nuisance — so much so, that 
we organised a battue, and in three days shot 
over 1200. There exist in every station in India 
stringent rules against firing a gun in canton- 
ments, and so we had to get the Brigadier's 
permission to shoot them, and rather ludicrous 
it seemed to read in Brigade orders the following 
announcement : "The following officers, &c., have 
permission to shoot flying-foxes within canton- 
ments from the — th inst. to the — th." Many 
of our servants and other natives carried off* 
the carcasses, vowing they were excellent eating ; 
but we could not stomach them, though I have 
heard that at the Mauritius they are a common 
dish at the regimental messes. De gustihus non 
est disputandum ! but I certainly never person- 



SMALL-GAME SHOOTING ROUND DELHL 155 

ally met any European who had tasted them. 
The head is too dog-like in appearance, and 
the body so full of vermin, that, to my mind, 
it would require a very strong stomach indeed 
to partake of their flesh. This, however, may 
be but prejudice. Jerdon thus describes them : 
^* Head and nape, rufous black ; neck and shoul- 
ders, golden yellow ; back, dark brown ; chin, 
dark ; rest of the body beneath, fulvous or rusty 
brown ; interfemoral membrane, brownish black ; 
length, 12 inches to 14 J inches ; extent of wings, 
46 inches to 52 inches." 

But before the bats come out we shall have 
opportunities of observing many of the more 
common species of Indian birds. Take a stroll 
with me through the grove, and let us note some 
of its feathered inhabitants. 

Soaring round high up at various altitudes you 
will note the white scavenger- vulture {Neophron 
ginginianus)^ a foul-looking bird, with his yellow- 
ish-white and black plumage, and with a few 
sparse hairs sticking out from his head, that 
make him look like a bald - headed old miser ! 
His first cousin, the common pariah kite {Milvus 
govinda), poised on motionless pinions, is keeping 
up a conversation with him in shrill, tremulous, 
whistling notes. Doubtless their keen vision has 
taken cognisance of our approaching camp, and 



156 INDIAN SHIKAR. 

they are congratulating themselves on the scraps 
of food they will obtain when it is pitched. 

Those impudent black rascals, with grey backs 
and necks, which much resemble our " hoodie- 
crows," are the Indian species (Corvus splendens), 
though why named splendens goodness only 
knows. A most cheeky and ubiquitous bird is 
Corvus splendens, and utterly fearless of man. 
When the camp is pitched you will see him hop- 
ping about, poking his nose, or rather his bill, 
into everything, and if he be not closely watched, 
he will be sure to commit some petty larceny. 

Over there, seated on that buffalo's back, you 
will see his congener, the King-crow {Suchanga 
atra)y who is about the size of our English black- 
bird, with equally glossy plumage, but with a 
long tail, forked at the end like a blackcock's. 
He spends most of his time on the backs of sheep 
and cattle, where doubtless he finds plenty of 
food in the shape of parasitic insects. Occasion- 
ally you will see him launch himself up in the air 
like a fly-catcher, catch some insect on the wing, 
and then descend to his original perch. 

" What is that bird with the vivid blue plum- 
age?" That is the Indian Roller (Coracias in- 
dica)y misnamed the Indian Jay by Europeans, a 
bold bird where he is unmolested ; but his gaudy 
plumage has a commercial value, for John China- 



SMALL-GAME SHOOTING ROUND DELHI. 157 

man prizes his feathers highly for fans, and gives 
a high price for them, as well as for the skins of 
kingfishers, the gaudy blue colouring being quite 
the fashion in the Celestial empire. The Roller 
is a bird of omen in India amongst the natives. 
If one flies to the right, you will succeed in what 
you are going out to accomplish ; if it appears to 
the left, you will fail. There is a certain amount 
of analogy between this and our well - known 
legendary rhyme about magpies, but I cannot 
say that I ever found it come true in either case. 
That bird with the large feathered top -knot, 
long curved beak, and quaintly banded plumage 
of white, black, and cinnamon - colour, is the 
Indian Hoopoe ( Upupa epops) ; and that bird 
with the wonderfully blended plumage of blue 
and green, with a long, slender, slightly curved 
bill, is the Indian Bee -eater (Merops viridis). 
You may see them perched by the score on all 
the telegraph-wires, from whence they dart off 
in pursuit of any passing insect. That sober- 
plumaged, yellow - legged bird, whistling softly 
like a starling, and perched above your head, is 
the common Mynah {Acriclothores tristis). He is 
one of the commonest of Indian birds, and is a 
great favourite amongst natives, who keep him 
caged as a pet. They are wonderful mimics, and 
can whistle a tune with marvellous accuracy. 



158 INDIAN SHIKAR 

This is especially the case with a variety obtained 
in the hills. 

Ah, there are some doves ! Are not their tints 
wonderfully blended? But you cannot see well 
here in the shade. Let us make one fly out. Now, 
note the metallic-like sheen on the wings of the 
bronzed- winged Dove (Calcophaps indicus). Are 
they not marvellous? Do not despise our little 
friend if you are hard up for food, for, properly 
cooked, he furnishes no unworthy dish, believe 
me. That flash of golden-yellow darting between 
two trees is the Golden Oriole (Oriolus kundoo), 
commonly called the mango-bird, from, I suppose, 
the resemblance that its plumage bears to that 
king of fruits — a ripe mango. He is the Loriot 
of the French, and certainly his note of " Loriou, 
loriou," uttered in a loud, mellow whistle, bears 
out the nomenclature. Here is the definition of 
the bird extracted from Bailey's * Dictionary and 
Interpreter of Hard Words,' the sixteenth edition 
of which was published in 1753, so the authority 
should be old enough to satisfy any one, quaint 
though the description is : " Loriot, a bird that, 
being looked upon by one that hath the yellow 
jaundice, cures the person and dies himself" ! 

That green, screaming, long -tailed phalanx 
approaching from the green fields is composed 
of parakeets — the small, green, rose-ringed Para- 



SMALL-GAME SHOOTING ROUND DELHI. 159 

keets (PalcBomis torquatus)^ and the Alexandrine 
Parakeet (P. alexandri). Stand still a minute, 
and then some of them are sure to settle on the 
tops of the trees, and we can observe their antics ; 
not that this will be an easy task, as they keep 
so high up, and their plumage assimilates so 
closely with the screen of foliage that intervenes 
between us and them, that it is diflScult to detect 
them. What gymnasts they are, to be sure ! 
Now hanging by their claws head downwards, 
anon swaying their bodies to and fro at the end 
of some slender twig, suspended by their beak. 
Amusing birds these parakeets, as every one 
knows, and a great favourite with the British 
soldier. When I came home from India with 
my regiment we had 900 parakeets on board, and 
the row they made at times was deafening. They 
fly with wonderful swiftness, and we used often, 
when we had nothing better to do, to station 
ourselves in their line of flight in the evening 
and shoot them. I think they are about as 
difiicult shooting as anything, as they come with 
all the swing and impetus of driven grouse, and 
their long tails make them as delusive as a 
rocketing pheasant. They are not at all bad eat- 
ing, and a parakeet curry is not to be despised. 

That other gaily tinted bird is the Green Barbet 
(Megalana caniceps), who shows himself much 



160 INDIAN SHIKAR. 

more freely than his pretty little brother, the 
crimson-breasted Barbet (Xantholcema hcBmace- 
phala)y commonly called the " coppersmith," who 
is quite a ventriloquist, and seems to take a 
pleasure in misguiding any one who is looking 
for him. One moment you will vow his loud 
metallic note of ^' Took-took-took," that seems 
as if produced by striking a piece of hollow cop- 
per, sounds to your right. Look as keenly as 
you may, you will not discover the little rascal. 
The next moment it sounds to your left, then in 
front, above, behind you, until you are fairly 
bewildered, and all the while the bird may be 
close to you, and has never moved from his 
perch ! In shape the barbets are stoutly made 
for their size, with a short thick bill, and short 
tail and wings, and they generally select as their 
perch the tops of the highest trees, which adds 
to the difficulty of detecting them. 

As we stroll on you will see a great commotion 
on the ground just by the foot of that big tree. 
The dust is flying up, and there is a great chat- 
tering, and all this occasioned by some half-dozen 
or more small greyish birds about the size of our 
English thrush. They all seem busy scolding 
each other, or some one else, to the top of their 
bent ; in fact, they resemble a regular conclave 
of old maids met for tea, gossip, and scandal. 



SMALL-GAME SHOOTING ROUND DELHI. 161 

They are a colony of Babbling Thrushes {Crater- 
opus canorus)y commonly called in India '* the 
seven sisters." You never see them separately. 
Always in flocks, and always chattering. 

Look at that little dark bird that is hopping 
about with all the familiarity of our well-known 
robin-redbreast. He is our Indian Robin ( Copsy- 
chus saularis). He seems all black when seated 
and at rest ; but when he flies you will notice 
his pied appearance, for his wings, back, and 
upper tail-coverts are banded with white. In 
size, though, he is much larger than our English 
bird. 

Another familiar but sombre - plumaged bird 
is the Bulbul, or Indian Nightingale {Pyononotus 
intermeddus). Only one bright spot of colour 
relieves his dusky garb — viz., a vivid spot of 
crimson-lake just under his tail, that gives you 
the impression of the bird having sat down on 
a stick of coloured sealing-wax for a moment ! 

But perhaps your neck is aching from looking 
up at all these birds ; besides, it is getting late, 
and the sun will soon be down ; so let us go 
and see if there are any signs of our camp coming 
up ; for though I could point out to you many 
more birds, such as the Indian Nightjar (Capri- 
mulgus indicus)y the Pond Heron or paddy-bird 
{Buhuleus coromandus)y the Rosy Pastor {Pastor 

VOL. I. L 



162 INDIAN SHIKAR. 

roseus), &c., I will refrain, for fear lest I should 
weary you. Anyhow, you will have seen enough 
to show you what a field for natural - history 
observation an Indian grove aflfords. 

Making such mental notes and observations, 
the time passed rapidly ; but as our watches 
pointed to seven o'clock, then half- past seven, 
and finally to eight, and there were no signs of 
the truant camp, we began to wax impatient, 
and our inner men commenced to assert their 
wants. Darkness, too, or rather moonlight, had 
come on, and we began to feel somewhat un- 
comfortable. At last there was a creaking of 
wheels, and presently the bullock-carts with all 
our retinue loomed in view. We were all very 
angry, and -ffisop's master, Clay, was preparing 
to administer a sharp rebuke to him, when that 
worthy, with folded hands, humbly explained. 

" Please, master, not gettin' angry. Those 
people at Kereala very bad. Patel [head man] 
great hudmash [blackguard] ; plenty galee [abuse] 
giving ; no carts giving ; no bullocks giving ; 
then what I do ? These bullocks plenty bobbery 
making and hackerry [cart] breaking, so long 
time coming," &c. 

Perhaps there was a substratum of truth 
underlying Master iEsop's string of excuses, 
thougTi doubtless, in reality, he and all the 



SMALL-GAME SHOOTING ROUND DELHI. 163 

other servants had been dawdling about at 
Kereala, smoking the everlasting hubble-bubble 
and discussing the price of atta (flour). Be that 
as it may, any further interrogations and ex- 
planations were cut short by one of the bullocks 
charging straight at us on being unyoked, and 
nearly upsetting Clay. However, at length camp 
was pitched, dinner eaten, and we turned in. 

After breakfast on the 26th we all set to work 
and loaded cartridges ; for we had expended a 
good many during the last few days, and hearing 
of some good snipe-ground in the vicinity, we 
did not wish to run short. At twelve o'clock 
we started, and en route formed line across some 
(iMZ-fields, where we picked up a hare or two, a 
brace and a half of black partridges, and some 
five brace of quail. We also put up several 
antelope, but did not get a shot at them. At 
length we reached the snipe-ground, which con- 
sisted of patches of marshy gi'ound stretching 
for about 300 yards on each side of a small irri- 
gation canal. This ground extended for about 
a mile, and culminated in a largish reed-bordered 
tank, surrounded in its immediate vicinity by 
a jheely or marsh, beyond which lay extensive 
paddy or rice fields. Directly we set foot on 
the wet ground the fun began. Snipe kept 
rising all round us, now singly, now in twos or 



164 INDIAN SHIKAR. 

threes, anon in wisps of twenty or thirty. It 
was a shot almost every other step. The com- 
mon snipe {Gallinago coelestis), jack snipe (Lini' 
nocryptes gallinula), and painted snipe [RyncluBa 
bengalensis), a worthless though handsome bird, 
were swarming. We did fairly well, missing, 
however, more than we killed, and losing many 
birds through our coolies' bad marking, till at 
last, about three o'clock, Chalmers and I ran 
short of cartridges. Leaving Clay to have tiffin, 
we mounted our ponies, and galloping back to 
camp, hastily loaded a hundred more cartridges 
each, and returned. In the meantime Clay had 
taken a turn over the ground we had just shot, 
and picked up a few more couple of snipe. We 
then joined forces and surrounded the tank, out 
of which we got a couple of blue-winged teal 
{Querquedula circia) and one common teal 
(Querquedula crecca), losing another, which 
dived into the weeds. We saw several of the 
latter, but they were too wary, rising at the 
first shot and going clean away. Then we 
turned our attention to the paddy-fields, and if 
the snipe had been abundant before, they were 
even more so now. The walking, too, was 
harder, as every one must know who has ever 
shot snipe in such places. We added a further 
variety to our bag here in the shape of four 



SMALL-GAME SHOOTING ROUND DELHI. 165 

bittern (Botaurus stellaris), which subsequently 
proved most excellent eating. One of our coolies 
got a nasty wound from one of these birds, which 
was only winged. Going to gather it, the bird 
threw itself on its back, and striking at the man 
as he stooped, sent its long pointed bill right 
into the fleshy part of his arm. It was lucky it 
missed his face, for had it struck his eye blind- 
ness must have resulted. We shot away till we 
could see no longer, though we could hear the 
snipe rising all round us, and then we made our 
way back to camp, bagging some half-dozen pea- 
fowl en route. These were plainly discernible 
roosting in some tall trees that bordered the 
roadside, and we knew they would be acceptable 
to the men of the regiment, so had no scruples 
in shooting them sitting. Then after dinner we 
mounted our tats and rode back to Delhi by 
moonlight, well satisfied with the result of our 
three days' shoot, which, besides other game, in- 
cluded over a hundred couple of snipe — enough, 
I fancy, to satisfy the greatest glutton. 

About a week later, Chalmers, myself, and 
another brother officer revisited this identical 
ground at Mongolpoor, and, strange to say, we 
hardly found a snipe there. We, however, got 
some twenty odd couple out of some quite dry 
jow-scrub jungle about a mile and a half distant, 



166 INDIAN SHIKAR. 

besides a few hare, black partridge, and quail. 
We got three more bittern, however, out of the 
paddy-fields. The first time we visited the 
jJieel the day was cloudy, whereas the second 
it was blazing hot, and this may have made the 
snipe move away to where they could find shade, 
for we never saw anything like the number that 
we did on our first visit. 

But one could get very good sport even nearer 
the city, as will be shown from the following 
account of a single-handed day I had. I was at 
the time encamped with a wing of my regiment 
on the historical " Ridge " near Hindoo Rao's 
house. This is a long, rocky ridge, facing on 
one side towards the famous Kashmir Gate and 
Metcalf s house, whilst on the other the ruins 
of the old cantonments, a collection of ruined 
and crumbling bungalows, rise amid an open 
forest of baubul-thorn trees. This used to be 
capital ground for hare and blue rock-pigeons, 
numbers of which inhabited the disused dry wells 
that were scattered about ; whilst the continuation 
of the " Ridge " — a stretch of barren, rocky ground 
— harboured lots of sand-grouse of both vari- 
eties, — namely, the common sand-grouse {Pterocles 
exustus) and the painted sand-grouse (P. fasci- 
atus). Standing on the confines of our camp, I 
often had an opportunity of observing their ere- 



SMALL- GAME. SHOOTING ROUND DELHL 167 

puscular habits, as they gathered together and 
flew down in large flocks to drink at the river 
Jumna, that was plainly visible below the city 
walls some little distance off. Along the south 
bank of the river the Burrara jungle extended 
for some miles, a waving sea of grass. This 
grew to a height of ten to twelve feet where it 
had not been cut, interspersed in places with 
jow. It was Government ground for grass, and 
so had been cut with a certain amount of regu- 
larity, leaving rides, or open patches, which made 
beating such thick covert somewhat easier than 
it might otherwise have been. 

Having now given some idea of the ground, I 
will describe the day, and as a mixed bag I think 
the result was very satisfactory. After parade, 
taking half-a-dozen coolies with me, I started off, 
and descending into the old cantonments, shot my 
way through them to where the ridge ended in a 
stretch of broken, rocky ground, near which I had 
given my syce instructions to wait for me with 
my pony. Half-a-dozen hares, and as many blue 
rocks, two common sand-grouse, and one of the 
painted variety, constituted my bag when I 
reached the rendezvous. Sending these back to 
camp, I mounted and rode on to the Burrara 
jungle, which was about some three miles distant. 
Here, having put my beaters in line, I went 



168 INDIAN SHIKAE* 

forward and stationed myself in one of the open- 
ings. The first game to show was a grumpy old 
boar, who burst out close to me, and after one 
look, trotted off with an angry grunt. I had 
not then been initiated into the charms of pig- 
sticking, nor was that noble sport pursued in 
Delhi ; but a hog was always as sacred in my 
eyes as a fox, and though I had a rifle by me, I 
did not fire at him. He was soon followed by his 
family of three sows and a dozen little striped 
squeakers ; but of course they too were allowed to 
go unharmed. Then the fun began. Black par- 
tridges came rocketing overhead, affording most 
lovely shots, whilst a rush through the grass be- 
trayed the movements of an antelope ; hares scut- 
tled across the open rides, and altogether I had 
a very pretty little " hot corner." Then several 
other patches were beaten in like manner, all add- 
ing their quota to the number of the slain. By 
this time I had reached an extensive break in the 
high grass — a long strip of low jow-jungle, which 
fringed the river-bank for about a mile, jutting 
out in places in little promontories. On a sandy 
spit in the stream I saw a large flock of geese, 
I fancy Anser cinereus ; but though I tried to 
stalk them, they were too wary, and I failed to 
get a shot. The stalk, however, was not fruit- 
less, for from behind one of the little promontories 



SMALL-GAME SHOOTING ROUND DELHI. 169 

« 

five duck {Anas hoschas) sprang, and my two 
barrels resulted in their leaving two of their 
number behind. There were numerous Brahmini 
duck (Casarea rutila) flying up and down the 
river, uttering their plaintive cry of " Chukwa- 
chukwee '' ; but these, though handsome - plum- 
aged birds, are not worth powder and shot from 
an edible point of view, and as I did not even 
require one as a specimen, they were left alone. 
For I hold that no true sportsman kills for the 
sake of mere killing, and blazes away at every- 
thing that comes in his way, destroying life to the 
bitter end. My theory is, kill what you require 
or what can be legitimately disposed of, and 
leave the rest alone. To resume, however : in the 
jow I got several quail, nice plump little birds, 
and also four and a half couple of snipe, as well 
as a teal which sprang out of a little mud-hole. 
A further inspection of the river higher up added 
a red -headed pochard {Aythia ferina) and a 
whistling teal {Dendrocygna awsuree) to the 
bag. Then I turned homewards, taking another 
beat back through the jow, picking up a hare or 
two, a stray black partridge, and a brace and 
a half of quaQ. Altogether a very satisfactory 
mixed bag of some sixty odd head. 

Such are specimens of the small game to be 
obtained, or perhaps, strictly, that were to be 



170 INDIAN SHIKAR. 

obtained, in the vicinity of Delhi, and which I 
believe could still be got, though perhaps the in- 
tending sportsman might have to go a few miles 
farther than I did. This, however, with the 
facilities of sending on relays of horses that one 
has in India, and the distances one is accustomed 
to ride in the gorgeous East, presents no very 
great diflSculty. 

On the side of the river most remote from 
Delhi, towards Luiii, there used to be large herds 
of black buck [Antilope cervi-capra) and a good 
many ravine deer {Gazella Bennettii), but these 
may have been thinned during the last few years. 
Still farther north, and between Meerut and 
Roorkee, near Mozuffurnuggur, extends a vast 
jheel, which will never, in our day at least, be 
shot out, and the sandy plains around abound 
with antelope and sand -grouse. Amongst the 
latter is the large species [Pterocles arinarius)^ 
nearly as big as our own grouse. Then, too, the 
celebrated Kadir, or old bed of the Ganges, lies 
not very remote, and here any amount of small- 
game shooting may be obtained, though I would 
warn sportsmen not to trespass there too much 
without making due inquiries first, as it is a fa- 
vourite hunting-ground of the Meerut Tent Club, 
and they naturally are averse to have the numer- 
ous hog it harbours disturbed by much firing. 



SMALL-GAME SHOOTING ROUND DELHI. 



171 



These notes pretend to no scientific merit. 
They are merely jotted down from memory, re- 
freshed by reference to my Shikar Diary ; but 
they may prove of some little benefit and interest 
to those who find themselves, as I did, on the 
spot with no one to give him a hint as to what 
game he might expect to find, or where to look 
for it. 




Black Buck. 



172 



CHAPTER VIIL 

AFTER JUNGLE-FOWL IN CEYLON. 

"Why don't you have jungle -fowl for dinner 
sometimes?" I asked my brother, when staying 
with him some years ago on a Ceylon coffee- 
estate where he was the periya durai or assistant. 

The remark was called forth by the constant 
daily dish of beef, beef, beef, which in those days 
constituted the dinner diet of an up-country 
planter, and one which even all the cunning 
culinary art of a first-rate apoo could not dis- 
guise in sufiiciently pleasant variation. We had 
beef in curry, beef hashed, beef croquettes, 
bubble-and-squeak, beef minced, and so on until 
my inner man revolted ; and fresh from an 
Indian hot -weather trip, with jungle all round 
us (sadly devoid of game, however), I naturally 
turned to the bird that had afforded me good 
sport and good food when out in camp. 

" Ah ! I wish I could get hold of some of 



AFTER JUNGLE-FOWL IN CEYLON. 173 

them," was the reply ; " but I have not time to 
look after them, and besides, I cannot take the 
estate coolies to beat. There are any amount 
of birds about, for it is a niloo year; but if 
you can bag a few, I'll say thank you all the 
same, though you will be lucky if you get a 
shot, for they are leary birds, I can tell you." 

This was casting somewhat of an aspersion 
on my knowledge of woodcraft, so I determined 
to have a prowl round the coffee and the 
adjacent jungle the next day, and see what I 
could do. 

I started after chota hazri the next morning, 
accompanied by two as unlikely-looking aids to 
the gun as can well be imagined — viz., a big 
Scotch deer-hound named Gruach, and a brindled 
Australian kangaroo-hound called Tiger, both of 
which belonged to a friend of my brother, and 
were used by him as "seizers" when hunting 
elk, as sambhur are wrongly called in Ceylon. 
Good as the dogs were for hunting their legiti- 
mate game, they seemed rather out of place 
when employed to bag jungle -fowl; but they 
looked so wistfully at me when I lit my morning 
pipe in the verandah, and seemed to plead so 
hard to accompany me, that I gave in and let 
them come, more especially as my morning 
stroll was undertaken more with a view of 



174 INDIAN SHIKAR. 

prospecting the ground than obtaining actual 
sport. 

I had not gone more than 300 yards along 
one of the paths that were cut here and there 
through the coffee, when Gruach threw up his 
head, pricked his ears, and dashed into the 
coffee, followed by Tiger. A jackal, I thought. 
But it was game, at least from a gastronomic 
point of view. The dogs were evidently hunt- 
ing something, so I ran on ahead to where a 
little ravine, planted with guinea -gi'ass for the 
estate cattle, rifted the slope of the hill. I got 
there just in time to see a hare run out not 
thirty yards from me, and a charge of No. 6 
shot laid her low as the dogs burst out on her 
track. Looked at from a strictly sporting point 
of view, I ought undoubtedly to have punished 
this case of running riot ; but I had a selfish 
object in view, and, moreover, was youthful and 
keen to hunt anything with anything. So puss 
was soon gralloched and handed over to a pass- 
ing coolie to take to the bungalow, whilst Gruach 
and Tiger devoured the gralloch as a stimulus 
to their ardour. 

Higher up I worked my way through the 
coffee-bushes, the dogs hunting on each side of 
me, till I reached a field of two-year-old coffee. 
Here the giant forest -trees that had partially 



AFTER JUNGLE-FOWL IN CEYLON. 175 

survived the " burn " lay with their great 
blackened trunks, gradually mouldering in decay, 
and one of these seemed to have special attrac- 
tion for the dogs. Sniffing at one side, they 
would suddenly bound over to the other with 
cocked ears, as if expecting something to bolt. 
That there was something under the tree-trunk 
was evident, for it lay across a little dip in the 
ground, and the rank grass and weeds neglected 
by the weeders had grown up thickly against 
the sides. The dogs' excitement waxed greater, 
so I got on to the trunk and began to stamp 
upon it. This had the desired eflfect, for out 
flew a spur-fowl, which fell to my shot; and a 
little farther on, in a patch of seedling coffee, 
or "nursery," the dogs put up its fellow, which 
succumbed to a charge of No. 6 after being well 
hunted about. 

I had now reached the jungle, but dared not 
venture in, though I heard a jungle-cock crow- 
ing lustily, for fear the dogs might get on to 
the line of a pig or sambhur ; so skirting its 
edge some fifty yards away, I coasted along on 
my return journey. A good half-mile had I 
gone with the jungle on my right, and the dogs 
hunting the coffee below me, when they put up 
a jungle-cock (Gallus ferrugineus), and not to 
be confused with that noble bird of Southern 



176 INDIAN SHIKAR. 

India (G. sonerattii). Up he flew from his 
forest home, and then catching sight of me, rose 
higher, as if conscious of his danger. The sun- 
light gleamed on his red breast, and his long 
tail streamed behind him as he rocketed over, 
aflPording a most sporting shot. Bang ! and he 
slewed up against the wind as if acknowledging 
the salute, but the second barrel settled him, 
and he fell with a crash at the edge of the 
jungle, a proof positive that jungle-fowl were to 
be got. 

Then home in triumph with my bag of a 
hare, a brace of spur-fowl, and a jungle-cock — a 
welcome addition to the larder. 

For my evening's sport I decided to adopt dif- 
ferent tactics, and try what I could do by either 
waiting or sneaking about quietly in the jungle. 
So about 4 P.M., after putting on a pair of racket- 
shoes so as to move more noiselessly, I started 
out alone. A walk of about half a mile brought 
me to the edge of the jungle, and creeping cau- 
tiously on for some 300 yards, I sat down near a 
patch of niloo. The surroundings were indeed 
entrancing. Overhead huge forest-trees towered, 
through whose wide-spreading branches the even- 
ing sun just flickered and danced, casting fantastic 
shadows on the mossy carpet at my feet. Below 
me the oya, or river, leapt in a sheer fall of some 



AFTER JUNGLE-FOWL IN CEYLON. 177 

300 feet over a mass of rock, forming a seething 
mass of foaming water whose roar nearly drowned 
all other sounds. Beautiful flowers, orchids, and 
ferns grew thickly at my feet, or clung to the 
branches of the trees overhead ; and below the 
rock on which I sat, the Wanaraja, or king of 
plants, peeped out with its beautiful lilac-grey 
little flower, and its leaves of delicate brown vel- 
vet veined with gold. A short distance below the 
ground fell abruptly, but in every crevice where 
it was possible for a handful of earth to withstand 
the wash of the rain, there grew a luxuriant mass 
of vegetation, varying from delicate ferns to trees 
whose snake-like roots were for more than half 
their growth above ground. Bird-life was scarce, 
and save a bird-of-paradise fly-catcher and a myna 
or two I saw none. The stream, tumbling over 
the " Devon Falls," rolled on with a monotonous 
yet soothing sound, and a crash in the tree- tops 
amid the jungle above, denoting where some Wan- 
deroo were indulging in monkey gambols, were all 
the sounds I could hear. For half an hour I sat, 
smoked the pipe of meditation, and revelled in all 
the glories of nature. Then a shrill clarion-like 
challenge came from my right, though still far 
away. A moment more and it was answered from 
the left. Twice, thrice were they repeated, each 
time nearer, and then from my sheltering rock I 

VOL. I. M 



178 INDIAN SHIKAR. 

saw three or four sober-plumaged little jungle- 
hens daintily picking their way towards the niloo, 
stopping every now and then to scratch away the 
dead leaves in search of worms or some dainty in- 
sect-morsel. Again a cock crew quite close, but 
this time the challenge remained unanswered. I 
now bethought me of a somewhat poaching dodge 
learnt from an old Gond in the Berar jungles, by 
which I might lure the cocks to their destruction. 
Be tolerant with me, I pray ye who read, and dub 
me not rascal and poacher, for remember I was 
shooting for the pot, and my stomach yearned for 
some change from the everlasting beef! The 
dodge was simple, and merely consisted of clap- 
ping my open and bent hand sharply three or four 
times in quick succession against my thigh at in- 
tervals. This produced a sound much resembling 
the flapping of wings — a subdued challenge which 
no right-minded jungle-cock can resist. 

It had the desired eflPect. Quickly appeared on 
the scene the rival combatants with trailing wings 
and hackles erect, all thirsting for the fray, whilst 
the fair sex (as usual) looked on in unconcern. I 
was mean, I confess, for the two gallant birds fell 
to my shot before they had time to cut each other 
into ribbons, and a hasty snap-shot at a hen as she 
scuttled off added another jungle-fowl to the bag. 
" A dirty low trick ! " you will perhaps exclaim. 



AFTER JUNGLE-FOWL IN CEYLON. 179 

Well, perhaps it was, but you who would judge 
harshly of one, I pray take into consideration the 
" extenuating circumstances " that French law 
courts so often accord to offenders, and be merci- 
ful, and perhaps you may feel more lenient when 
I relate a little later the retributive justice that 
befell me for the foul deed ! But no shadow of 
regret clouded my brow as I gathered my victims, 
and smoothing their glossy plumage and tucking 
heads beneath wings, I stuffed them into my bag 
and wandered on in search of fresh adventure. 
None befell me, however, and though I heard 
another jungle-cock crow, he either saw or heard 
my approach and made himself scarce. 

And now to relate my punishment. We had 
the spur-fowl for dinner that day — and were not 
they just good ! And the next day, and the next, 
we promised ourselves a similar treat. The follow- 
ing day I met my punishment. We returned home 
late, and found that two planters had dropped 
in unasked, as was the custom in those hospi- 
table days, and had eaten a brace of the birds 
intended for our dinner. But that mattered little. 
The appoo was ordered to cook the other brace, 
and spatchcock them for celerity ; and so after 
a tub we sat and smoked and talked — well, 
principally coffee. Patiently we waited, and the 
expected meal came not, but presently the appoo 



180 INDIAN SHIKAR. 

did, with scared and angry face. In one hand 
by the scruff of the neck he held a cat, in the 
other a handful of torn flesh and feathers. In 
few words he told his tale. " Please, master, 
see what that d — d cat done." It was too true. 
Tom, the favoured and petted, that we never 
expected would have so demeaned himself, had 
succumbed to temptation and betrayed the trust 
reposed in him, a well-fed, indulged cat. He 
had strayed into the cook-house, and then and 
there disgraced himself Perhaps he too hung- 
ered for fowl-flesh as a change from the ever- 
lasting beef; but hungry men's anger cannot be 
trifled with. A drum-head court-martial tried 
the thief; and soon after, a shot echoing on the 
still night air told that " Tom " had paid the 
penalty for being a thief, for the taste once ac- 
quired was hopeless to cure. Perhaps, after all, 
it served me right for the mean advantage I had 
taken of the jungle-cocks. Quien sabe ? 

Ah me ! what changes time brings ! Of the 
merry party of four assembled that night in the 
little planter's shanty in Dimbula, only another 
and myself remain ; and as I write, a raging bliz- 
zard and some six inches of snow on the ground 
(when we had fondly hoped that spring had be- 
gun) make me fain long for happy days of long 
ago in the gorgeous East and Ceylon's spicy isle. 

One little anecdote and I have done. My 



AFTER JUNGLE-FOWL IN CEYLON. 181 

brother's appoOy to whom I have referred, was 
not only a man of resource, but a chef. No 
matter how empty the larder and store-room, 
if guests turned up he always provided a decent 
dinner, and rumour had it that when with a 
former master he on one occasion eclipsed him- 
self. It happened on this wise : S., his master, 
lived in a very out-of-the-way place. The week's 
beef had not arrived. The store-room was almost 
empty of tinned bacon and sardines, those great 
stands-by, and two travelling planters dropped 
in to dinner unexpectedly. Appoo was equal to 
the occasion, however, and served up soup, a most 
savoury ragout, and a jam omelette. After 
dinner, S., who was considerably puzzled as to 
how his Jidus Achates had done so well, sum- 
moned him to his presence, when the following 
scene was enacted : — 

S. '^ Appoo, you have given us a capital dinner 
to-night " (appoo smiles), — " a really first-class 
dinner. That stew is the best thing I have 
tasted for a long time. What the dickens did you 
make it from, for I know you have no beef ? " 
Appoo. " Me very glad master pleased." 
S. " Yes ; but what did you make it of? " 
Appoo. " He ! he ! he ! that time master pleased ; 
I very glad ; I always do best for master." 

S. (getting a little annoyed at this tergiversa- 
tion). " Yes, yes ; hut what did you make it of? " 



182 INDIAN SHIKAR. 

(Ajypoo grins, and edges towards the door.) " Do 
you hear me, sir ; what was that stew made of? " 

Still no answer, but more grins from the appoo 
as he gets nearer and nearer the door. 

At last S. loses his temper, and jumps up, 
repeating his question. 

By this time appoo has got the door open, and 
tremblingly falters out, " Please, master, yester- 
day master sh-sh-shooting " {a pause) " one ape ! " 
and then bolts. Tableau ! 

It was only too true. With a view to getting 
a skin of the Wanderoo monkey, S, had shot one 
the previous day, and the man of pots and pans 
had from the carcass evolved the dish that had 
been so much appreciated. 



A Periya Durai's Bungalow 



183 



CHAPTER IX. 

THE GRAND DUKE OF TUSCANY. 

I AM no historian, nor am I well versed in the 
chronicles of the middle ages, when the ducal 
seigneurs bearing the above title were such a 
power in Italy. Not of them do I write ; their 
actions good or evil ; the pomp and splendour of 
their Court, or their deeds of war and love. 

My theme is of a nobler animal, the ^HuskM 
boar," whose courage and form have been cele- 
brated in song, painting, and sculpture from time 
immemorial, whose head has been assumed as a 
crest by some of our noblest families, and whose 
very name is symbolical of cunning, ferocity, and 
undaunted courage. 

The boar is not a flashy, sensational animal 
like the tiger ; nor was he created for the special 
benefit of novelists, who, by the way, as a class 
know very little about him or his habits. With 
this class I dare not enter the lists of argument. 



184 INDIAN SHIKAR. 

Their amazing intellect, and power of weaving 
fantastic ideas into apparent truth, crush all 
opposition and defy competition. Baron Mun- 
chausen is not " in it " with them, and they leave 
that delightful romancer lengths behind. Men 
and women of their creation are but as pigmies 
to the Titans and Herculeses of mythology ; and 
the Amazons — those warrior - dames of whom 
Nestor loved to tell — and the Borgias of later 
days, are but innocent infants in strength and 
wickedness compared to the heroes and heroines 
of modern fiction. The boar, therefore, finds no 
place in the pages of modern fiction, and it can 
hardly be expected that the pages of Tomance 
should be soiled with the mention of a beast 
which in ordinary minds is merely associated 
with the filth of a farmyard. The tiger is a more 
convenient animal to introduce as an actor in 
some thrilling drama. Is he not an incarnation 
of supple, agile ferocity and treachery; and is 
he not adorned with fangs and claws that tear 
and rend in the most blood - curdling manner ? 
Yes, the tiger is a grand resource ; and if a major 
donned in spotless white (though why the victim 
should nearly invariably be a field -ofiicer, and 
always clad in white, beats me, except that the 
white colour makes a prettier picture when well 
bespattered with crimson gore !) should generally 



THE GRAND DUKE OF TUSCANY. 185 

figure as the hero of the incident, why, the 
picture is the more complete. So the boar is 
relegated to obscurity, and is not deemed worthy 
as an instrument for the destruction of super- 
fluous heroes. How could an animal that, if un- 
molested, would infinitely prefer using his tusks 
on some succulent root than on the hunter's 
prostrate form — who derives as much satisfaction 
from venting his fury on his enemy's hat as on 
his nether limbs — be usefully employed as an 
instrument of destruction ? The idea is absurd. 
Fancy subjecting a man who stands 6 feet 4 
inches in his stockings, who is the descendant 
of half the De Veres, Howards, Fitzfoozles, and 
other aristocratic families in the kingdom — who 
can crush pewter mugs as easily as he can 
crumple up a bit of paper, and who can back and 
ride the most fiery and untamable steed that 
ever was foaled — to the indignity of being 
killed by a pig, a mere pig ! Bah ! the notion is 
preposterous. No ; if De Vere or Fitzfoozle is 
to die, let him die as a gentleman. Let the blue 
blood ooze slowly out and tinge the arid sand 
beneath some giant forest-tree. Let the royal 
Bengal tiger be the conqueror of the paragon, 
gasping out his life beneath his victim, who has 
stabbed him to the heart with a penknife I Then 
the public will applaud, and will have no cause 



186 INDIAN SHIKAR. 

to embrace that modern heresy that all men are 
equal ! The result of all this is, that poor Sus 
cristatus and his character suffer in the annals 
of fame. He is left to the tender mercies of 
sportsmen, who, with all their attributes of 
chivalry and generosity, are a little inclined at 
times to vaunt their triumphs at* the expense 
of the "Grand Duke"! In some cases, alas! 
imagination runs riot with them. In vino Veritas 
is not always a true saying. Distance and 
time lend enchantment to the view, and the 
narration of an incident which may have been 
considered trivial at the moment it took place, is 
touched up, coloured, and magnified till it is sur- 
rounded with a halo of exaggeration. They don't 
mean to be untruthful, not they, at least most of 
them, but they cannot resist the temptation of 
self-glorification. I am not bringing a sweeping 
charge against all hog-hunters — far fi:om it ; for 
have I not been one of the most ardent votaries 
of the sport myself? At the same time the pith 
of their anecdotes all points to one end — viz., that 
they were very good riders and adepts in the use 
of the spear, and that the boar who succumbed 
to their onslaught was a very unlucky animal to 
have come across them ! The word ego predomin- 
ates largely in their narration. " /got up to him ; " 
"/ sheered off to avoid his charge ; " "/ gave him 



THE GRAND DUKE OF TUSCANY. 187 

a good spear ; " "7 did this, and I did that/' &c. 
About the boar, his fierce courage, his indomita- 
ble pluck, and regret at the death of a noble 
foe, not one word — unless maybe it is a casual 
remark from one who has already done himself 
ample justice. 

I do not mean to say that those who have par- 
taken of the delights of hog-hunting do not hold 
their quarry in the highest veneration, for is he 
not the hero of a hundred songs, and is not the 
"Boar" the Indian sportsman's favourite toast? 
What I maintain is, that the praise as between 
boar and hunter is unfairly apportioned, the 
hunter getting the greater share ; and so this 
magnificent animal appears to disadvantage. He 
is nearly always depicted as being the conquered 
and not the conqueror. Yet I fancy if we poor 
humans could peruse the pages of pig history, we 
might read a different version, a reversal of the 
picture. There would be less of the triumphs of 
the spear and more of the " tusk," less of the pig 
'^jinking " and more of the sportsman " funking " ! 
More would be related of the cunning sagacity 
that foiled the hunter, than of the hunter's thun- 
dering over break-neck ground and jumping im- 
possible nullahs ! I can recall several instances 
in which a boar scored off all his pursuers, em- 
ploying combined courage and cunning to effect 



188 INDIAN SHIKAB. 

his escape, and leaving the mark of his keen ivory 
tusks on more than one horse. Ay, and I have 
known instances of a boar, and a sow too, seizing 
a hunter's foot in its mouth, and hanging on with 
the tenacity of a bull-dog, though speared through 
and through ! More than once, too, can I recall 
to mind the case of a boar taking up his position 
in an awkward spot where none dared to ride at 
him, myself amongst the number. 

For an animal whose very name is symbolical 
of filth and ugliness, the pig is, I think, worth 
some attention, for he has played no small part 
in the world's history. Every nation nearly has 
something to say of him. Perhaps the most well- 
known mention of swine is when that big herd 
of two thousand rushed violently down a steep 
place into the Sea of Tiberias. Without any 
wish to be profane, I always think it was " hard 
lines " on those pigs, and wonder why the " devils " 
could not have been sent into the sea without 
sacrificing the pigs. But I am treading on 
delicate ground. However good one's principles 
may be, one cannot always control one's thoughts, 
and thoughts are so independent of control that 
sometimes one might as well not have any prin- 
ciples at all. 

Let us continue to glance at the pig as he 
figures in history. The Chinese are credited 



THE GRAND DUKE OF TUSCANY. 189 

with having first discovered the succulency of 
roast-pork ; and though there may be some ob- 
scurity on this point, for Confucius makes no 
mention of such an important article of diet, his 
countrymen may as well have the credit of 
having made the discovery, as well as those of 
printing, gunpowder, &c. To the Jews he is an 
abomination, likewise to the Sikh and the Ma- 
homedan, who, though they will kill a pig, will 
not eat him. The story of the cartridges greased 
with pigs' fat having been one of the alleged 
causes of the great Indian Mutiny, is familiar to 
all. The Irishman feeds on him after allowing 
him to occupy his cabin with his wife and family. 
The Saxon fattens him till his flesh turns into 
fat bacon and hams, which may be considered 
staple articles of food. The Anglo-Indian hunts 
him with horse and spear. The French and 
Germans shoot him, whilst in America he is one 
of the great articles of commerce. 

There is nothing taking in the appearance of 
the domestic pig, nor can he by the greatest 
stretch of imagination excite much interest. 
There is something repulsive in his appearance 
as well as his habits. He is always ugly, and 
generally a foul feeder, particularly in India. 
But his wild congener of Hindustan is a very 
diflferent creature — note his counterfeit presentr 



190 INDIAN SHIKAR. 

ment, '^a 38J-incher." Ugly and plebeian he 
may be, but yet endowed with one superexcellent 
virtue. He is brave beyond all other animals, 
— brave and rash, perhaps, with the bravery born 
of stupidity, but brave to the backbone neverthe- 
less. The tiger respects him, the elephant dreads 
him. I have seen an elephant staunch and true, 
the hero of a hundred encounters with tigers, 
flee in abject terror at a litter of little stupid 
'^ squeakers " getting up under his feet. He faces 
boldly both horse and man, and woe betide the 
wretched dog that comes within reach of his 
ivory tusks ! This pluck is the distinguishing 
merit of his race, and is the cause of his popu- 
larity with British sportsmen. Fox-hunters hold 
a fox in just veneration, and so do hog-hunters 
esteem a wild boar, holding him sacred from 
destruction save through the medium of one 
legitimate weapon, the spear. If a man ever 
ventures to assert he has shot pig, ten to one he 
will add by way of excuse, " It was in country 
where you could not ride,*' just as the destruction 
of foxes in the Highlands of Scotland is excused. 
The geographical range of the Indian boar 
may be said to be almost ubiquitous. On the 
borders of heavy jungle, and at the foot of 
every hill-range where the dense undergrowth 
afibrds him shelter, the wild hog abounds. In 



THE GRAND DUKE OF TUSCANY. 191 

the alluvial cypress-gi'own islands of rivers, in 
the jungle on their banks, in the fields of sugar- 
cane, millet, and other crops, he makes his lair, 
if there is any jungle within twenty, ay, even 
forty miles. But the lowest ranges of jungle- 
clad hills are his favourite resting-place. There 
he slumbers 'neath the grateful shade during 
the sultry noontide, till night falls. Then he 
trots ofi* for the plains and supper, trudging 
along at a most marvellous pace that quickly 
takes him over the ground — a pace that is some- 
thing less than a trot, something more than a 
walk. Laziness certainly cannot be laid to the 
charge of the wild hog, for it is astonishing 
how many miles he will travel for his food. 
Distance has no deterrent effect on him, as long 
as it can be covered during the hours of night. 
As a rule, he returns to his lair at the time 
when " the moon and the day meet," just before 
dawn; but if some appetising crop, some suc- 
culent patch of sugar-cane, should tempt him, 
he will lurk in the covert all day, perhaps longer, 
treating with disdain any effort to dislodge him 
on the part of the distracted peasantry, whom 
he will charge without hesitation should they 
attempt to evict him. During the rains and 
the cold weather hog are very fond of lying up 
in the crops, and will often take up their abode 



192 INDIAN SHIKRR. 

in some of the adjacent rumnahs or grass-coverts. 
Sugar-cane is their choicest delicacy, and to the 
porcine palate occupies the relative position of 
toffy to a schoolboy. To enjoy this delicacy hog 
will make many sacrifices ; and they are, more- 
over, generally inclined to resent any intrusion 
on their temporary domain, and to prove by the 
aid of strong white tusks that *' possession is 
nine points of the law " ! So there the wild 
boar lies and munches the juicy cane, let the 
irate husbandman yell and bawl as he likes. 
Some day, perhaps, a white hunter more deter- 
mined arrives on the scene, accompanied by 
numerous beaters, with much discordant music. 
These are too much for his nerves, and he sallies 
leisurely forth. Once out in the open plain, he 
fights out the battle to the bitter end, like the 
hero that he is. This habit of travelling long 
distances for his food puts the boar in splendid 
condition, and if met with near his jungle home 
after returning from a midnight foray, the pace 
he will go for a short distance will tax the 
powers of the fleetest horse. Once cut off 
from his retreat, he stands and fights it out, 
charging each foe with reckless bravery. Yes, 
he is a gallant brute, and deserves greater 
recognition than he meets with. By none have 
his merits been more ably recorded than by 



THE GRAND DUKE OF TUSCAMY. 193 

Major Baden-Powell in his capital book — a book 
which every one who has once taken part in the 
entrancing sport of hog-hunting should possess. 
His pen, far more able than mine, has described 
fully the minutim of the sport, and it would there- 
fore ill become me to do so. 

I have but taken up the cudgels on behalf 
of a gallant foe, many combats with whom have 
given me and other sportsmen much enjoyment 
and the happiest moments of our lives, for he is 
the most sporting of the many sporting animals 
of Indian shikar. As such, I have endeavoured 
to do him justice, and to exhibit him in his true 
character. Long may he flourish ! say we, as 
we, who have once hunted him on his native 
plains, remember all the fim he afforded us ; 
and may he in the future be deemed more 
worthy of honourable notice in the annals of 
sport as The Grand Duke of Tuscany I 



Tie Croud Dtilu. 



194 



CHAPTER X. • 



A hunter's camp in the east. 



Only those who have experienced the delights 
of a free, unconventional life in the jungles can 
appreciate its enjoyment. The change from the 
heat and dust of a cantonment and its concomi- 
tant ceremonies, compared to the freshness and 
liberty of camp-life, is indeed great. For the 
nonce, if you be a military man, you are your 
own commanding oflScer : no orderly - room, no 
parades, courts - martial, or any other dull yet 
necessary routine of a soldier's life. Or, if you 
be a civilian, what a boon to be far away from 
all the dreary details of business and officialdom ! 
The fresh scenery, the hard exercise, the constant 
expectancy of sport, all tend to keep up your 
spirits, invigorate both body and mind, and gen- 
erally improve your health in the sunny land of 
Ind, where the enervating influences of climate 
sap the energies, both mental and physical. Yes, 



A hunter's camp in the east. 195 

in very truth it is a joyous time, and when passed 
in the heyday of youth, vigour, and health, ten 
times more enjoyable. Such scenes, too, are apt 
to impress themselves on our memories. Their 
image remains when other and more important 
acts, scenes, and episodes in daily life have faded 
away into the mists of oblivion, and he who has 
once tasted the charms of camp-life in the glori- 
ous Eastern jungles may well say — 

" Those days come on me like recollected music." 

Ay will they ! We smell the '^ smell of the 
fields," we hear all the sounds of camp-life, the 
neigh of our horses, and the bubbling groans of the 
baggage-camels. We see the rolling jungle-clad 
hills, rifted here and there with dark and rocky 
ravines, the home of tiger, panther, and bear; 
the forest aisles of waving, feathery, graceful 
bamboo, the haunt of bison, sambhur, and spotted 
deer, rise up before us. Nay, we even seem to 
hear on some starlight night the deep, guttural 
growl of a tiger, or the bark of a startled deer ; 
for the alarm-note of the CervidcB is more of a 
bark than anything else, and far different from 
the challenging roar of an amorous stag. All, 
all these seem to float with lifelike distinctness 
across the vision of our brain, as their ghosts are 
called up from the Valhalla of the past. 



196 INDIAN SHIKAR. 

Let me endeavour to carry my reader with me. 
Ample justice, such as it deserves, I feel I can 
hardly do the subject. One needs the pen of an 
artist in language to depict the scene as it ought 
to be portrayed, to dash in the lights and shades, 
and give life to the dry bones of mere narrative. 
Still I will do my best, and ask my readers to cast 
away their surroundings for the time being, to 
convey themselves in spirit many thousand miles 
away from their comfortable fireside, and imagine 
themselves just starting for a shikar trip. 

In an able article in the ' Universal Review ' of 
June 1890, Mr P. Hordern discourses eloquently 
on "Things missed in India." No doubt he is 
right on many points, but I venture to think he 
is wrong when he touches on sport. There are 
two sides to every question, and in the article re- 
ferred to, the writer dwells at somewhat dispro- 
portionate length on the thousand and one worries 
of Indian domestic life. No picture of this would 
be truthful if these were omitted, but do not let 
us overdraw them. To Mr Hordern, India is a 
land of strangers and aliens, a land of desolation 
to be avoided and got out of as quickly as pos- 
sible, and he has no good word to say for it or 
its teeming population. Granted there are many 
things missed in India, many drawbacks to the 



A hunter's camp in the east. 197 

enjoyment of life there, yet how many pleasures 
do we obtain in this much-abused country which 
we fail to get in Britain ! I speak as a pure 
sportsman, mind ; and certainly, if you come to 
compare the sport attainable in both hemispheres, 
why, that of the East (to use a slang aphorism) 
"takes the cake." 

But let us start on our trip. Our party is 

composed of five. You and I, and B and 

C and F . Five is a good number : there 

are enough for a rubber at whist to while away 
the hot noontide hours when you have no big 
game to pursue, and sufficient to decide, by a 
clear majority, any vexed questions of argument 

or plans that may arise. With our friends B 

C and F we have at present nothing 

to do ; for we will join them at our first camp, 
some thirty odd miles distant, by-and-by. In 
the meantime you and I have to get there. The 
camp-kit has all been sent on some days pre- 
viously, and everything will be ready for us. 
Our friends have preceded us ; for on the eve 
of starting we find ourselves detailed for a regi- 
mental court-martial or commissariat board, or 
some other irksome duty. You see, I am sup- 
posing we are both soldiers, and as such, of 
course, we shall grumble horribly, and wish pro- 



198 INDIAN SHIKAR. 

fanely that the service was at the bottom of the 
sea. Nevertheless we shall, I hope, do our devoir 
to the best of our ability and conscience and " the 
custom of war in like cases." 

The time has come at last, however, and we 
have laid out a dak or stage of borrowed ponies 
for the first twenty miles, and our own nags will 
take us on the final ten. So at about 6 a.m. one 
bright morning in March, after hastily swallow- 
ing a cup of tea and crunching some toast and 
eggs, we light the morning cheroot, and swing- 
ing ourselves into the saddle, canter gaily out 
of cantonments as happy and full of larks as a 
couple of schoolboys. What reck we of the cloud 
of dust we raise behind us ? Shall we not soon 
be quit for a couple of months at least of all the 
glare and dust and noise of station -life? No 
" Black Care " sits behind our saddles, in spite 
of what the Latin poet says about its accompany- 
ing every horseman. 

The farther we go, the fresher the air seems, 
the more free and unfettered we feel, and the 
more our spirits rise. Then, when some three 
miles are traversed, we turn off the puckah road, 
and make our way across the wide, far-stretching 
plain, in the direction of a low line of hills that 
loom dimly in the distance ; past cool -looking 
mango - groves ; past native villages, whence a 



A hunter's camp in the east. 199 

truly Eastern odour (though not of roses) arises ; 
past wells, 'neath tall umbrageous peepul-trees, 
round which the village gossips are holding forth 
on their staple subject of conversation — to wit, 
atta (flour) — and where the village maidens in 
their bright blue and red saris add grace and 
colour to the groups. Past fields of tall reed- 
like millet and sugar-cane, and corn and cotton, 
till the first ten miles are past, and we see under 
the shade of yon scant baubul thorn our two 
relief-ponies. On to these we soon change and 
pursue our way, now jogging along quietly, now 
indulging in a good stretching gallop, and even 
on occasion giving vent to the exuberance of our 
animal spirits by larking over some little nullah 
or a thorn-and-straw-bound fence. 

So the distance is gradually shortened, and by 
ten o'clock we reach our second stage. Here 
breakfast is awaiting us; to this meal we do 
ample justice, and by the time it is over a good 
piece of news is in store for us. For see, yon 
dusky form that comes across the plain at a good 
jog-trot is the bearer of good news. Having in 
Eastern fashion made due obeisance, he proceeds 
to extract from the folds of a very dirty waist- 
cloth a note. 'Tis from our friend B , saying 

he has heard of a good boar or two about half- 
way to camp ; that they (his party) have had a 



200 INDIAN SHIKAR. 

" kill " by a tiger, and as they do not know when 
we shall arrive, they are going to beat for the 
tiger, and have left the hog for us ; further, that 
they have made arrangements for the beaters to 
be all ready for us on arrival at Pipri — for so we 
will call the village — and wishing us good luck. 
Could anything be better? And what a good, 

thoughtful fellow we vote B 1 Please the 

pigs, we will open our sporting campaign by 
fleshing our spears in the bodies of the unclean 
animal. So, forrard on ! 

A six-mile trot, and then a crowd gathered 
under a small grove of trees denote that we have 
arrived at the scene of action. Inquiry from our 
under-shikari elicits the satisfactory information 
that a sounder of hog containing one good boar 
has been safely harboured about a mile off, and 
that a small date-grove not far distant has been 
chosen by a solitary old boar (whose proportions 
are described as resembling those of a bullock) 
for his mid-day siesta. 

We will take the sounder first, and accordingly 
take post at one end of the covert, and soon 

" Shout and roar have stirred the boar. 
And forced him forth to fly." 

See, yonder they go ! their black backs bobbing 
up and down in the short grass. Hold hard one 



A hunter's camp in the east. 201 

minute, let them get clean away; for the lusty- 
old boar who belongs to the sounder is disposed 
to take matters more leisurely, and trots after his 
departing wives and children in a sort of confound- 
me-if-I-am-going-to-be-hurried manner. 

One pull at your girths, one pressure of your 
finger-tip on the keen blade of your spear to make 
sure the point is sharp ; and now, if you are quite 
ready, " Ride ! " Away bound our good Arabs, 
with cocked ears, their long tails, the proud flag 
of their race, streaming behind them. Stride for 
stride we gallop on, and the snort of our steeds 
and the thud of their hoof-strokes on the sun- 
baked soil is all the sound we hear. Nearer and 
nearer we draw, till but half-a-dozen lengths 
separate us from the boar, whom we have de- 
tached from the sounder. We are now going 
best pace, and are both, friends though we be, 
imbued with the keen spirit of rivalry. Fortune 
favours me, for my horse, having a greater turn 
of speed than yours, draws to the front. My 
spear is extended, for a moment the sunlight 
flashes on the glittering blade, the next moment 
it will be embedded behind yon bristly shoulders. 
But the race is not always to the swift, nor the 
battle to the strong. As victory seems within 
my grasp, there is a wicked backward glance 
from the boar s little brown eye, a " Woof, woof," 



202 INDIAN SHIKAR. 

and turning so suddenly in his tracks as to almost 
lose his legs, he jinks to one side. Now, now is 
your chance. Ah ! you have learnt your lesson 
well, I see ; and your horse, who is more of a 
veteran than mine, understands his business ; for, 
turning almost with the boar, he cuts in front of 
him, enabling you to meet his sidelong charge 
and gain the coveted '* first spear." A few more 
charges, and then, fighting gallantly to the last, 
the old boar succumbs and is gathered to his 
fathers. 

A good gallop and a plucky boar, we mutually 
agree ; and when I have congratulated you, mon 
am^^— for, after the first passing shade of annoy- 
ance at being defeated, as becomes a sportsman 
I forget my disappointment in your triumph — 
we dismount and measure our quarry. A 33- 
incher he proves, and with an 8 -inch pair of 
tusks. 

After washing out the mouths of our good 
steeds, and giving them half an hour's breathing- 
time, we remount, and proceed to beat up le 
solitaire. He, however, proves a surly old gentle- 
man, and loath to leave his comfortable quarters, 
dodging backwards and forwards in the most 
annoying manner. This game goes on for at 
least a couple of hours, then unexpected assist- 
ance arrives in the shape of a troop of Lumbanis 



% ••• 



■ •• • 



• *• 



• • t> • 






* 

• b •> * 



I A «• • • 



A hunter's camp in the east, 203 

— a wandering gipsy tribe — who, with the aid 
of their powerful dogs, undertake to instil into 
the mind of the boar that it would be to his 
advantage to seek fresh fields and pastures new. 
This they certainly do, for after a short time 
out trots the old gentleman, followed by the 
yelping pack, though they take very good care 
to keep out of reach of his ivory tusks. The 
boar is evidently in a vile temper, as he champs 
his tusks, while the foam flies in thick flakes from 
his jaws. But at last he gets far enough from 
the covert for us to ride him. Not that it is 
much of a ride, however, for he is old and lusty, 
and half a mile pumps him. Then it is a case 
of ^' Come on, and be hanged to you ! " for the 
boar pulls up under a baubul-thorn tree and 
charges me viciously — for again I have got the 
start of you. No jinking this time, and so I win 
the spear ; an equable arrangement, and one that, 
true sportsman as you are, you will not object 
to. Again, though speared badly, he comes out, 
this time at you. Do not pull up, now; gallop 
at him. Ah ! that was a good spear, and sped 
true, for you nearly turned over even the boar's 
bulky carcass as your horse sheered off, and you 
were enabled to withdraw your spear. Twice 
more we circle round and meet in conflict — steel 
versus ivory ; but cold steel wins the day, for the 



204 . INDIAN SHIKAR. 

gallant animars last effort is but a staggering 
charge. He blunders on to his nose, recovers 
himself, a step or two more, then the mighty 
body sways heavily and topples over. A gasp 
or two, those sturdy limbs relax, and the brave 
spirit has fled. 

^'Butchery," some may say. "What pleasure 
can there be in sticking a pig ? " Ah ! my friend, 
you who have, though only in spirit, participated 
with me in the glorious delight of a good gallop, 
the mad frenzy of a charge, and derived the 
satisfaction of having outwitted and conquered 
the most plucky as well as one of the most 
crafty animals of the chase — you will not hold 
with such maudlin sentimentality, for you know 
the chances are even. It is a fair fight, a contest 
betwixt spear and tusk, reason and nerve pitted 
against cunning and pluck, and you will call to 
mind many occasions on which "tusk" had the 
best of the game. Nay, the legs of any old Arab 
or Waler hog-hunter will bear testimony to this 
latter fact from the scars that adorn them. 

And now we will send on the carcasses to camp, 
the while we discuss our tiffin, and with pale ale 
or claret-cup wash the dust of the chase from our 
throats, whilst our horses are rubbed down and 
enjoy their mid-day feed, and then we will jog 
quietly on to camp. No ; on second thoughts let 



« 

• > « •> 

» ■ K • 
• _ 



■> • « ■ 



• •*• • 



» -* 



» • % O 






A hunter's camp in the east. 205 

us walk and shoot our way there. Our syces 
have our guns and rifles, and perchance we may 
get a shot at some black buck, ravine deer, or 
bustard. At any rate, we are certain to find a 
sprinkling of quail, painted partridge, and hares, 
with maybe the coveted prize of the Indian 
gunner, and as precious to him as a woodcock 
to his home brother, the shapely and game-look- 
ing floriken. These we all meet with, — some we 
bag, some we miss ; but anyhow, as the sun sinks 
down beyond the crest of yon range of rugged 
hills whose base we now approach, and we catch 
a glimpse of the white walls of our tents, we have 
not a bad show of game. 

The camp at last. Delightful word ! How 
welcome the sight ! how familiar seem all its 
details! Three "field-officers'" tents serve as 
our sleeping and dressing apartments, for we 
generally dine in the open — nay, some of us 
prefer sleeping outside in the soft, cool air, so 
refreshing after the heat of day. The camp is 
pitched beneath a banyan -tree, which assumes 
the appearance of a veritable thicket, sprawling 
after the manner of its kind over many a rood 
of ground, and forming quite a colony of its 
dependent roots. Look at the downward ampli- 
fication of its sturdy tendrils, each of which will 
in time assume the proportions of the present 



206 INDIAN SHIKAK. 

stem, sending out in its turn more branches 
and more tendrils. Are they not curious ? 
— nay, more than curious, for they look at 
times like huge snakes, so twisted and gnarled 
are their shapes. Some one has said that, given 
time, a banyan -tree would by degrees extend 
from Cape Comorin to the foot of the Himalayas ; 
that though the progress would of necessity be 
slow, time would not matter much to the tree, 
which would go steadily marching onwards, in- 
creasing and multiplying till its object was 
attained. And glancing at our individual tree, 
you can well believe this. 

Let us take a glance round, and note the acces- 
sories of camp-life. There are our horses, those 
you and I rode just now, together with those 
of our friends, picketed a short way off, with 
their attendant syces rubbing them down and 
grooming them, and, let us hope, instituting a 
careful search for thorns ; for in our late gallop 
we have brushed through some thorny scrub- 
jungle. Beyond, near a couple of small hill- tents 
which serve as shelter to our servants, is a country 
cart piled up with straw and hhoosa, with its 
pair of attenuated bullocks chewing the eternal 
cud of reflection. Farther off, some vicious- 
looking camels are pursuing much the same 
occupation ; whilst looming dark in the shade 



A hunter's camp in the east. 207 

towers the giant form of an elephant, for we 
have been fortunate to get the loan of one. Very- 
useful will the huge pachyderm be to us in the 
case of following up a wounded tiger. Servants 
are busy moving about on their masters' errands, 
guns and rifles are leaning against the tent- walls, 
whilst some brass basins on their tripod-stands 
seem to act as sentinels over them. A table with a 
snowy cloth and some comfortable cane lounging- 
chairs give an air of comfort to the scene ; whilst 
not far off*, a pile of logs, destined to form our 
post-prandial fire, attests the fact that the nights 
are chilly. Out in the open farther away there 
is a little group gathered. They are the village 
chumars busy skinning a tiger our friends have 
shot. By to-morrow noon there will be naught 
remaining of that lithe and muscular body, for 
the jackals at night and the vultures by day 
will pick the skeleton perfectly clean. Near the 
servants' tents the carcasses of our two boars, 
a black buck, and a couple of chital, or spotted 
deer, are dependent by their heels from a branch ; 
whilst floriken, hares, partridge, quail, and pea- 
fowl also form items of our larder, and will all 
contribute their quota towards that best of all 
dishes — a real "hunter's stew." 

And now night approaches, not with the grad- 
ually lessening footsteps of an English evening and 



208 INDIAN SHIKAR. 

its delicious gloaming that speaks a lingering fare- 
well, but suddenly and with a bound, for there is 

no twilight in the East. A short half-hour, and 
night is an accomplished fact. The fox-bats have 
unhung themselves from the topmost branches of 
the banyan-tree, and are gliding through the air 
like dim shadowy ghosts ; the camp-fires burn up 
brightly, shedding a ruddy glow on the dusky 
forms of our followers ; the nightjars give forth 
their curious cry ; and ere another two or three 
houi-s are past, the camp will be hushed in the 
silence of sleep. Only the voices of the night 
will be abroad ; and as we lie on our beds gazing 
up through the matted foliage at the twinkling 
stars above, and thinking perhaps of home, the 
only sounds that break on our ears will be the 
" kuhher-dar " and nervous cough of the watchman 
— he whose duty it is to scare off any prowling 
jackal, or give notice by his monotonous cry to 
any brother thief that blackmail has already been 
paid to the conununity, and that he must exercise 
other fields for his felonious talents. Or maybe 
the snort and impatient stamp of a horse, followed 
by a low sonorous growl from the dark back- 
ground of the jungle, will advise us that a tiger 
is abroad and on his nightly prowl. Ah ! a 
sound this which, once heard, will not easily 
be forgotten. Even the slumbering sportsman, 



A HUNTEK8 CAMP IN THE EAST. 209 

wearied with his day's exertions, will start up 
and long that it were day in order that he might 
try conclusions with the monarch of the jungle. 
Then the watch -firea will blaze up, and the 
coughs and " kubber-dars" will increase and be- 
come louder, more sustained, and more nervously 
ejacidated, till once more the god Somnus spreads 
his enchanted wings o'er us, and you and I 
will doze off, perhaps to dream of Indian sport 
and the delights of camp -life in general, and 
hear again in our sleep the stirring cry " Wuh ! 
jatal" No unpleasant dream, believe me, and 
one which even in after -years you would at 
times fain indulge in. 



210 



CHAPTEK XL 



A SOLITARY HUNT. 



The unattainable is always what we long for 
most. It is only human, and when we have once 
partaken of a sport of which we were enthusiastic 
devotees, and can no longer indulge in it, its 
delights seem the more enhanced. Such senti- 
ments will be re-echoed by many an old hog- 
hunter who now finds solace in pursuing the fox 
at home. Not that I wish to decry fox-hunting 
as a sport, but personally I must confess it ranks 
second to hog-hunting in my mind. I have seen 
good sport with both, some of the best of both, 
but I plump for the pig. We dwell with delight, 
no doubt, on many a good run with hounds at 
home, but how memory flies back when we gaze 
at a pair of tusks, mere little bits of curved ivory 
though they be ! How the whole scene comes 
back to us, and how vividly each incident, every 
yard of the run, every turn of the hog, and his 
wicked glance of rage and defiance, stand im- 



A SOLITARY HUNT. 211 

printed on our memory I We can feel once more 
our gallant horse, every whit as keen as his rider, 
doing his level best to earn for him the coveted 
first spear ; hear once more the boar's gruff grunt 
as he either jinks or charges home, as the case 
may be. Yes, imagination pictures all the old 
scenes vividly, and we feel our pulse quicken, our 
heart beat the faster, and our eye fixed as we 
dwell affectionately on the past. 

Naturally the cream of every sport lies in 
competition and being first ; for as Captain 
Morris of the 9 th Bombay Native Infantry, the 
poet-laureate of hog-hunting, aptly sings in one 
of his stirring ballads : — 

" Oh, then, fail not to be at your post ! 
For though hunting's my pleasure and pride, 
Yet the charm of the chase is half lost 
If we have not a rival to ride." 

The sentiment is true, yet many a sportsman 
will recall some bit of solitary shikar, some lonely 
gallop and tussle, which will perhaps stand out 
more clear in his memory than other incidents 
which occurred in company. Such a scuffle I now 
propose to relate ; and as the firelight flashes on 
the spurs and spears in my snuggery at times, I 
can apply the lines — 

" My spurs and spear were truest friends 
I e*er could call my own." 



212 INDIAN SHIKAR. 

It happened thus. The Hunt-book had come 
round in due course for members to inscribe their 
names as intending to hunt two days after at 
Sonegaon, a spot some eighteen miles from 
Kamptee. Several names were down promising 
a fair muster of spears, and to those already in- 
scribed I added mine. Owing to casualties I had 
only two horses that I could hunt, and one of 
these I had to lay out as a hack to carry me the 
last six miles of the journey and be my second 
horse, whilst a borrowed tat did the first twelve. 

How well I remember the ride out ; the cup of 
hot coffee and bit of toast eaten by candlelight as 
I pulled on boots and breeches ; the morning pipe 
as I trotted along the cantonment road, and then, 
getting clear of houses as the first streak of 
light appeared in the east, swung along at a hard 
canter for a couple of miles, and leaving the kun- 
kur metalled road, launched out across country, 
making my way by well-known landmarks 1 

How fresh the morning air seemed, how de- 
lightful to get out of cantonments, and how much 
there was to note in animal and bird life I Here 
a herd of antelope, who stood and stared at me 
before loping off with stotting bounds ; there a 
brace of sneaking jackals, looking excessively dis- 
sipated, and as if they had been " making a night 
of it " somewhere ; whilst, as I scrambled in and 



A SOLITARY HUNT. 213 

out of a nullah, I disturbed that pretty graceful 
little animal an Indian fox, intent on hunting 
beetles or some such small game. Away out on 
the maidan near a small patch of rumnah grass 
stalked a lordly bustard, whilst the tops of the 
grain in a hajH field were alive with a swing- 
ing, chattering mob of green parrots. But I 
am not writing about natural history — merely a 
trifling sporting incident; so to that let me get 
" forrard." 

The little tat that had carried me the first 
part of my journey was lathering freely by the 
time I reached the village where my other mount 
was waiting me, and on this fresh horse the re- 
maining six miles to Sonegaon were soon accom- 
plished. At last the white walls of the Hunt 
mess-tent, pitched beneath a giant banyan-tree, 
greeted me, and I was soon beneath the grateful 
shade. 

An al fresco tub — i.e., being well soused with 
water by the attendant hhisti — then breakfast and 
a pipe, whilst Manajee, the Hunt shikari, came to 
make his report. Thi« was favourable — to wit, 
a good sounder of pig marked down among some 
stony grass-covered hills about two miles distant. 

Ten o'clock, half-past eleven, and no signs of 
any one else turning up ; so, as beaters had been 
collected and had gone on, I determined to wait 



214 INDIAN SHIKAR. 

another half-hour, and then, if no other sportsman 
arrived, to have a beat on my own account. No 
one came, so I started oflF, reaching the ground 
about noon. It was not exactly the sort of 
place one would have selected to ride a pig alone. 
Undulating low hills stretched away for many a 
mile, covered with loose rolling stones, and yellow 
withered grass some two feet high. In parts, 
patches of scrub-jungle and sheet-rock cropped 
up ; whilst here and there, where the hillsides 
were steep, they were riven and fissured by 
crevices, which, if a hunted pig once gained, would 
cause much trouble to a solitary pursuer, and 
oflFer decided means of concealment to the hog. 
In the little valleys and on the table-lands numer- 
ous nullahs increased the diflSculties; added to 
all, it was a fearfully hot day, and there was not a 
particle of shade nearer than the camp. The out- 
look was discouraging, but I had not ridden out 
eighteen miles for nothing; so telling Manajee to 
get the beaters in line, I cantered oflF to a little 
knoll from whence I could command a good view 
of the ground to be beaten. 

I had not to wait long, and it did not need 
the excited shouts of the beaters, " Wuh ! jata ! 
Wuh ! jata hai ! " (" There they go ! ") to tell me 
that game was afoot, for I caught sight of seven 
or eight black forms bobbing away through the 



A SOLITARY HUNT. 215 

grass about 300 yards to my left front. My horse, 
an old Arab, knew what was up as soon as I did, 
and from his pricked ears, fixed eyeballs, distended 
nostrils, and the quiver of excitement that shot 
through him, he was evidently every whit as keen 
for the fray as his rider. The pig were bending 
slightly towards me; so, sinking the hill on which 
I had been standing, I cantered across a small 
valley, and ascended another rise in the ground. 
As I reached the top, there were my friends, eight 
of them, having pulled up, and no doubt thinking 
how clever they had been. But directly I ap- 
peared on the scene, **a change came o'er the 
spirit of their dream;'' with a chorus of grunts 
they scattered right and left, and I had no diflS- 
culty in selecting the most rideable pig — viz., a 
nice active young boar of about thirty-one inches. 
To him accordingly I laid in, and a smart spin he 
gave me for half to three-quarters of a mile over 
the most abominably rough ground, where, clever 
as my old horse was, he had to do his best to keep 
on his legs. Twice I had almost closed with the 
boar, but both times a sharp jink threw me out, 
and after the last I lost sight of him amid some 
low scrub-jungle. The beaters, of course, were a 
long way behind, and the nature of the ground 
precluded my putting out any flag- wallahs, so I 
had only myself to depend on. I was meditating 



216 INDIAN SHIKAB. 

what line the boar would be most likely to have 
taken, when I caught sight of a little pool, or 
rather puddle, of water some distance on. " Ten 
to one he has gone to have a roll in the water," I 
thought, and cantered on. My surmise was cor- 
rect, for on reaching the spot there was my friend 
just emerging from a nice mud-and-water bath, 
and looking anything but pleased to see me. The 
ground was now more in my favour, and closing 
with him on one of the numerous slopes, I speared. 
Unfortunately I was using one of those abomina- 
tions, a diamond-shaped spear-blade, and the pro- 
jecting corners got stuck between the boar's ribs. 
This naturally irritated the animal, and he made 
furious eflForts to get at my horse, whilst I hung 
on to the spear. This game continued for perhaps 
a minute, when my horse suddenly let fly with 
both heels at the boar, knocking him over and 
nearly unseating me. Some perhaps will say that 
as I was alone, and had plenty of time to choose 
a favourable opportunity for delivering a telling 
spear, I should have waited, and not attacked on 
such awkward ground. Perhaps I ought, but my 
fear was that if I did not close as soon as possible, 
I might again lose sight of the boar. 

To resume. The boar picked himself up and 
with a surly grunt trotted oflF, the spear still 
sticking in him, and wobbling about as he went. 



• V • • 









• • * 



• - • 



w • • • 



« ••« • 



A SOLITARY HUNT. 217 

After going some fifty or sixty yards, however, it 
fell out, and trotting on, I dismounted, regained 
my weapon, and again spurred in pursuit. Again 
I closed with the boar, and again on sloping 
ground, where much the same sort of scene was 
enacted, my horse using both fore and hind feet 
on the boar with great eflFect. At last one of my 
stirrup-leathers broke, and I had to let go of the 
spear and get out of the way of the now infuriated 
boar, who retired higher up the hill, and lay down 
amongst some rocks and thick scrub. To attack 
on horseback in such a place was impossible, so I 
waited till the beaters and Manajee hove in sight, 
which they did before long, and then getting a 
fresh spear, and accompanied by Manajee, we 
crawled in under the bushes. At last I reached 
an open spot where I could stand upright, and no 
sooner had I done so than out charged my friend 
with an angry " woof, woof" right on to my spear, 
which I had just time to bring down to the charge. 
The impetus of his onslaught staggered me, but 1 
managed to keep him oflF till Manajee rammed his 
spear into him, and then, whilst he fended off the 
boar, I disengaged my weapon, and plunging it in 
behind the shoulder, this gallant young boar rolled 
slowly over, and expired with a last surly grunt 
of defiance. 

I shall never forget the heat when the excite- 



218 INDIAN SHIKAR. 

ment of the scuffle was over. I think I would 
have given a £5-note for a good drink, and of 
course the man with the tiffin-basket was more 
than a mile away ! So ramming my head under a 
bush, I sent off my pugree to be soaked in water 
where the boar had rolled, and tried to be patient 
till it was brought back and I could moisten my 
head. My horse had been slightly cut on both 
hind-legs, and feeling rather exhausted, I deter- 
mined not to beat any more. Besides, I had a 
long ride back to cantonments, and did not wish 
to disturb more ground. 

A tub, tiffin, and a nap in camp worked won- 
ders, and I rode back the eighteen miles to Kamp- 
tee, getting in in time for mess at 8 p.m., very 
well satisfied with my day's sport. 

Ah me ! how it all comes back to one ! and what 
would I not give once more to revisit those jungle 
haunts ! Dear old jungles, with your rocks, your 
trees, your waving rumnah grass, how full you 
seem to me even now of the happy memories of 
youth ! How haunted you are with the shades of 
tiger, panther, and boar, and how from your whis- 
pering leaves, yellow grass, and sun-baked soil 
come the voices of long ago ! Well, 'tis said 
" Tout vient a qui salt attendre" Perhaps my 
day of shikar may come once more ; if it does, I 
can only trust that of the boars I shall meet — 



A SOLITARY HUNT. 219 

" May their pluck be as good, their speed as well tried, 
As his who that day at Sonegaon died." 

And now, as an instance of how hog run almost 
the same line year after year, let me quote from 
a letter lately received from a friend at Nagpore 
— a letter that has brought back the old days 
very vividly to me, and made me suffer from that 
disease known as ^* hog-fever," an epidemic al- 
most as bad as the "influenza." This is what 
my friend says: — 

"I resolved not to do any hog-hunting till 
Christmas ; but when I heard I could not get 
away for that meet, I took the first opportunity 
of beginning at once. We met at Hingna, ten 
miles west of Nagpore, and raised about 150 beat- 
ers out of the adjacent villages. We beat the 
Jytolla or Sheongaon hhirs (these, I think, appear 
as the Sonegaon hhirs in the old Hunt records) 
from the western end. The grass is fearfully 
long and is only cut in patches, so our diflSculties 
were considerably increased. When we got to 
the big corrie (the same that you had your 
solitary fight with a boar from) two hog were on 
foot. I was posted at the bottom end of the 
nullah — viz., at its mouth — when I heard the 
cheery ' Jata hai ! ' which with us takes the 
place of Tally-ho ! I set old Bravo going. A 
mad scramble over the side of the corrie, a peck, 



220 INDIAN SHIKAR. 

a recovery, and then, with my heart in my mouth, 
I reached the top. Arrived there I saw flags 
waving in all directions. Luckily I rode the right 
line, though it was through grass up to my waist, 
and got on to the maidan between the hhir and 
Sheongaon. One moment to cast my eyes round, 
and there, half a mile away, I spotted a good 
boar — he looked as big as a donkey — blobbing 
up the slope of the opposite hill. In go the 
spurs. Dear old Bravo ! he hardly needed the 
incentive, for he was into his stride and away at 
full speed almost at once. But we had much 
leeway to make up over awfully stony ground, 
and a dark, sinuous streak ahead denoted a 
rocky nullah. As we galloped on I noted for 
the first time the presence of a rival, whom I 
had hitherto unnoticed, and who was not fifty 
yards behind the boar. He had been hidden 
from my view by a dip in the ground in front of 
the nullah, which I was now nearing. 'How 
deep is it ? Too wide to jump ! ' Such the 
thought that flashes through my brain as I take 
a pull at Bravo. Nobly the good horse shortens 
his stride, drops like a cat on to the sheet-rock 
in the bed of the nullah, and scrambling up the 
opposite bank, I feel the relief engendered by 
being carried safely over a nasty place. Now 
* forrard on,' good horse ; let us see what we are 



A SOLITARY HUNT. 221 

worth, for we are on rideable ground, and, 
please the shades of all hog, the * spear ' has not 
yet been claimed. Up the hill we climb, catch- 
ing sight of the boar and his pursuer, who has 
now dropped a bit behind. Then through a field 
of low and thin juwari^ and the boar inclines to 
the right, feeling that he cannot reach the send- 
hund at Sheongaon. And so he sets his head for 
a small solitary hill to the south of the corrie. 
On, ever on, and right well does Bravo swing 
over a bit of boggy ground in his stride. He 
might indeed have been bred on Exmoor or 
Dartmoor by his prescience of such places, and 

I see W , who is now close on the boar, lean 

forward to take the spear: You know the agony 
of such moments, when a rival bids fair to rob 
you of what you have ridden hard for. You will 
sympathise with me, and perhaps the more when 
I tell you that the boar jinked twice and let me 
up at last. ' Have you speared ? ' * No,' comes 
back in tones low and muttered. Now, Bravo, 
now ! A quickened stride ; we get almost level ; 
a big, burly form crosses right in front of me at 
right angles, and — I just manage to prick him 
and draw blood ! * Woof, woof,' and the angiy 

boar now comes round at W , who gives him 

a good spear. Then it is my turn for a charge, 
and I get a good spear in behind the shoulder. 



222 INDIAN SHIKAB. 

as with crest erect he charges in sideways. 
Hahet ! No more running now ; he halts under 
a small bush very considerately, for we are all 
glad of a breather, but almost before we have 
time to take one, a wild dazed look takes the 
place of the former wicked gleam in his eye, 
his hind-quarters give way, he totters, tries to 
regain his feet, and with a last savage look and 
a grunt of defiance he rolls slowly over, and is 
gathered to his fathers. No need of that last 
spear - thrust, his fighting days are over, and — 
' Whoo-whoop ! ' — he is dead. 

"The field now came up, but the fun was 
over. What a glorious gallop it was, and how 
many the explanations and regrets of those who 
were not lucky enough to participate in it, as 
we gathered round our first boar of the season ! 
And he was not such a monster after all — just 
under 30 inches measured as he lay — but he 
had the soul of a hero. The other pig that 
broke was unseen by the riders, and though we 
beat in every conceivable direction we failed to 
find again. The beaters were rewarded with 
double pay as an incentive, not only to give 
us khubber of hog, but to come and beat on a 
future occasion. You will acknowledge this was 
diplomacy. 

"So we jogged home well satisfied with the 



A SOLITARY HUNT. 225 

day's sport and the first boar of the season. 
I've spun a long yarn, but I know you at least 
will like to read it, and I hope be able to follow 
the run over my sheet of paper, for these lines 
will recur to you — 

" ' Then of those days we'll often think, 

And run our runs once more ; 

To old companions we will drink, 

And toast the mighty boar.'" 

Truly, my friend, I will, and so will many 
an old comrade who has tasted the delights of 
hog-hunting. I know the Hne of your run right 
well, and can picture it clearly. Would to Diana 
I could "lay into a hog" with you and your 
cheery comrades once more ! 



" Of those days -aiiU o/len think." 



224 



CHAPTER XII. 



MY THIETY-FOUE-INCHER. 



Yes ! as I look on these four little pieces of 
ivory, and the firelight glances on the spear- 
heads that guard them on either side, a proud 
day comes back to me. Who does not know 
— I mean, what sportsman who has achieved 
success does not feel his pulse throb and his 
heart beat as he recalls some individual day 
on which his star was in the ascendant, when 
he triumphed and earned — in his own mind, if 
in no one else's — fame? I am not egotistical. 
I do not want to blow my own trumpet, or 
vaunt any particular prowess of my own, for 
my success on this occasion was very common- 
place, and it was attributable to Dame Fortune 
bestowing her favours more lavishly on me 
than on my comrades that I won those ivory 
tushes, and put a "first spear" to my credit. 
And yet, though years have passed, my eye 



MY THIRTY-FOUR-INCHER. 225 

will stray to the wall on which they hang, 
and I cannot — no, I cannot — help feeling just 
a leetle bit cocky. You would too, my friend, 
111 be bound, though perhaps you may, after 
having read so far, and glanced on to the end 
of my scribbling, dismiss the subject with a 
** pish and a pshaw ! " Well, do so if you 
like; but for the sake of sport, which I will 
wager we hoih love, though perhaps differently, 
bear with me, I pray you ; and if you be 
sociable, light another weed, fill up your glass, 
and try to read the prosings of an old hog- 
hunter. 

First, an you be unlearned as to the relative 
size of Indian boar {Sus cristatus), let me 
enlighten you a little, for I have no wish to 
pose as the slayer of a hog of abnormal size. 
A 34-inch boar is undoubtedly a good one and 
above the average ; but yet hundreds of better 
ones have been, and will be, killed. Take the 
records of any Tent Club, and draw your own 
conclusions. Read Major Baden- Powell's fasci- 
nating (to the hog -hunter's mind) volume on 
' Hog-Hunting,' or Mr Simson's * Sport in Eastern 
Bengal,' or any annals of hog-hunting lore, and 
my modest performance will shrivel into insig- 
nificance. Nay, it was but the other day that, 
in answer to a query on my part as to the 

VOL. I. p 



226 INDIAN SHIKAB. 

relative size of hog, I received a letter from an 
old and enthusiastic Bengal hog-hunter, in which 
he said : " I have turned up old notes, and find 
such records in 1854, '55, '56. Two boars, each 
36 inches ; one boar, 37^ inches ; two boars, 38 
inches; one, 39 inches; one, 40^ inches; one, 
42 inches; one, 43^ inches. These were all got 
in the districts of Singapore and Rungpore. 
In those days we never took the trouble to 
ride a pig unless we thought he was over 30 
inches. The best pig-sticking meet I was oyer 
at was two days in March 1855, at a place 
called Tromboolee, about half-way between Di- 
nagepur and Moulda, where in two days we got 
fifteen boars, varying from 33 to 43^ inches in 
height. The 43^incher never ran a yard. We 
found him in a small patch of high grass-jungle. 
He charged every one that rode into it, and cut 
three horses badly. We put the elephants in 
to beat down the grass round him, but he 
turned them out more than once, and at last 
they left him in a small patch about big enough 
to just hold him, and there he stood and fought 
like a hero till we killed him with repeated 
spears. A truly big and great-hearted boar. 
His tushes, I remember, were not particularly 
large; but he was himself a monster, and very 
fat and heavy." 



MY THIRTY-FOUR-INCHER. 227 

Now this latter paragraph brings up the 
length of tushes — ah ! there I think I score. 
Not that I mean to advance for a moment 
those that erstwhile adorned the grim visage 
of my former foe are a "record" pair by any 
means — far from it, as you may see if you 
visit the hall of the East India United Service 
Club in St James's Square — but they are above 
the average, and what is more, the second best 
pair obtained in the Nagpore Hunt, of which I 
was a member. Ah, what would I not give to 
be out there and at the game again ! But you 
will say, " Shut up, driveller ! " and I will bow 
humbly to your mandate and come back to the 
day in question, when I got "six to four" the 
best of the " 34-incher." 

It was in the rains, or rather just when they 
were ceasing, and the whole country looked 
fresh and green, whilst the clouded sky and 
moist steamy atmosphere were a relief from 
the dry parching heat and winds of the hot 
weather. It was but the second meet of the 
season, and only five spears had turned up, all 
keen to be at their favourite sport once more. 
The scene of operations was a long stretch of par- 
tial cultivation and black-cotton soil, varied with 
stretches of rumnah grass, whilst the dead level 
of the surrounding plain was broken here and 



228 INDIAN SHIKAR. 

there by sundry rocky scrub -jungle -covered 
hills. Truly, indeed, did we after breakfast 
sally forth, and 

" With hope elate, anticipate 
To see the grey boar die." 

But, alas ! for many hours our hopes were un- 
rewarded. BMt and i^mnah were beaten fruit- 
lessly, or held no rideable hog, and by 3 p.m. the 
prospects of a gallop looked veiy gloomy. We 
had, indeed, started a sow or two attended by 
their litters of little striped " squeakers," but 
as yet no gleam of tusk had revealed the pres- 
ence of a rideable boar. So the five who com- 
posed our party were straggling on in front of 
the beaters to try a small patch of grass-jungle 
as a forlorn-hope. 

You all know what it is with hounds at home 
when you draw covert after covert blank, and no 
note of hound sends your heart into your mouth, 
and makes your nerves tingle ! At such moments 
we are apt to curse the uncertainty of fox- 
hunting, to almost forswear allegiance to the 
good cause, and mutter something about "stag" 
and " drag." Then when patience is wellnigh 
exhausted comes the scream of the whipper-in, 
followed by the merry chorus of hounds, and 
heigh ! presto ! all our woes are forgotten, and 



MY THIRTY-FOUR-INCHER. 229 

we — well, fill in the rest as you like. I warrant 
me you will have plenty of material stored up 
in your memory wherewith to do so. So it hap- 
pened now. A tremendous hubbub from the 
coolie crowd behind, excited cries of " Wuh jata ! 
wuh jata!'' ("There he goes!"), and then we 
catch sight of a black burly form lumbering 
along at a holding pace over the plain. What 
a monster he is ! and even though he is some 
distance from us, we can yet catch a gleam of 
white about his mouth that denotes his tushes 
will be worthy trophies. 

It happened that H and I were the rear- 
most of the party, and walking along smoking, 
when the boar, disturbed by the near approach 
of some chattering coolies, had started up from 
under a bush where he had been enjoying a 
siesta. Natives love making a row, and as we 
swung into our saddles and snatched our spears 
from the hands of attendant syces, a regular 
volley of yells rent the air, and made the boar 
increase his pace and set his head for a rocky 
bush - covered hill some one and a half to two 
miles distant ; so there was no time to get 
together and wait for the order to ** Ride ! " The 

position in rear that H and I were occupying 

gave us a start, and away we went best pace, 
H on a Waler (hitherto untried at pig), 



230 INDIAN SHIKAR. 

and I on an old Arab named Parachute, a 
veteran hog-hunter. The boar had got a good 
start, which was further increased from the fact 
of our having been on foot when he was reared, 
so we had a mile of hard galloping before we got 
on terms with him. This we at last did where 
a strip of detached bushes led towards the hill. 
" Now I've got you, my friend," I thought, as 

with a couple of lengths' lead of H I made 

my effort ; but the old boar, bulky and obese 
though he was, proved wonderfully active, and 

jinking right across me, turned to H Oh, 

the agony of that moment ! The thought of 
losing those splendid tushes was maddening, 
even though my rival was the best and dearest 
friend I had in the world. So much for the 

selfishness of human nature ! H , however, 

failed in his effort. His horse, terrified at the 
unwonted sight of the great bristly monster, 

sheered off, and good horseman though H 

was, not all his most persuasive eloquence of 
hand and heel could bring Ajax up to the scratch. 
Once more I got on terms, and as the pig was 
evidently getting blown, success seemed certain. 
Nearer I crept up, and as I settled myself more 
firmly in the saddle, and hand closed on the 
spear -shaft, I felt the boar was at my mercy. 
Two or three more strides would do it, and 



MY THIRTY-FOUR-INCHER. 231 

beyond a patch of low scrub and grass that we 
must gallop through ; then the " spear " would 
be won, when — crash ! in we went into an old 
concealed pit ! But Parachute was wonderfully 
quick on his legs; the pit was not deep, and 
though he pitched on his head and shot me on 
to his neck, he recovered himself admirably, and 
with a scramble, which shot me back into the 
saddle, we floundered out ! This contretemps had, 
however, deprived me of my pride of place, and 

once more I saw H closing with the pig, who 

had by now nearly reached the base of the hill 
which had been his point from the first. He was 
evidently done to a turn, and could only raise 

a trot as H bore up. The craven spirit of 

Ajax, however, failed him again, as with bristles 
raised and a "Woof, woof" the boar came at 
him. Once more he sheered off, and lost his 
rider the chance, and turning, the boar scrambled 
up the hill. " Now, old horse, one more effort," 
I muttered as I made a dash after the pig. The 
ground was terribly rough — rocks and stones 
were scattered broadcast — and the ascent steep ; 
but Parachute answered nobly to my call, and 
just as the boar reached some thick scrub about 
four feet high I leant right out of the saddle and 
speared. Then a blunder, and a recovery, and 
the boar had disappeared ! Nothing more could 



232 INDIAN SHIKAR. 

be done. The ground was unrideable, and the 
density of the jungle precluded all hope of com- 
ing on the boar by chance ; so there was nothing 
for it but to reach the top of the hill by a lit- 
tle path, and there wait till either the beaters 
came up or the boar left his stronghold. The 
latter I had not much faith in his doing, for he 
had gained a safe sanctuary which he would be 
loath to leave, and I knew I had given him a 
telling spear ; and so we waited till, some three- 
quarters of an hour later, whilst the line of 
beaters were beating round the opposite side of 
the hill, they came on the boar lying dead under 
a big rock. No very wonderful day's sport this, 
perhaps ; but as I read its record in my Shikar 
Diary, and see the brief note, **One boar, 34 
inches, tushes 9^ inches," memory goes back to 
the dear old days, which will probably never 
return — ^for me and two of the party who were 
out — and I find myself humfaing the lines : — 

" Then pass round the cup, come, pledge me a toast, 
To the * spears' and the tushes of which we can boast ; 
To the comrades of youth, the * rumnah,' the * bheer' ; 
The horses we rode, the crimson-stained spear ; 
The gallop, the charge, the fight at the end ; 
And just one more to each absent friend. 
In sorrow, in mirth, when your heart may be sore. 
Believe me, there's nought like a * Bout with a Boar ' ! " 



• •> • « 



b • « * 



233 



CHAPTER XIII. 

THE SONG OF THE SPEAR ; OR, A LAY OF 
THE NAGPORE HUNT. 

Memory is a great thing, a food of which we 
never weary, appetising and strengthening. So 
as firelight flashes on spear-blade and tusk, or 
skin, antlers, and trophies of shikar, gained when 
youth, strength, and energy were yet ours, it 
brings back the days of long ago, with all their 
charm, fresh and distinct, and once more we live 
in the past ; once more feel the bounding stride of 
the game horse under us ; once more hear the 
shouts of the beaters, and feel the hot air of an 
Indian morn ; once more feel our blood surge up 
as we embark in the mad rivalry of a race for 
first spear, and hear the boar's gruff grunt of 
defiance as he charges home ; and are once more 
— young again. So, is not memory a friend? 
Surely it is, a true and trusty one, one to be 
hugged to our bosom and clung to ; for when 
other friends desert us, memory will help us 
through many an hour of trouble and sorrow. 



234 INDIAN SHIKAR. 

I. 

Without, the snow comes whirling fast, 
And loudly shrieks the northern blast ; 
Within, above the embers dying low 
The clock chimes out with rhythm slow 

The solemn midnight hour. 

n. 

'Tis the hour when the dim forms of ghosts 
Creep forth in all their countless hosts, 
And with laugh and jest high revel keep. 
Whilst all the world lies wrapt in sleep, 

Till the bright dawn breaks forth. 

III. 

I was not erst condemned to stand 
Unnoticed thus in a distant land, 
Uncared for, but by him who bore 
Me in his dexter hand of yore 

Through many a gallant fight. 

IV. 

No worm then bored through my bamboo tough, 
Nor had the red rust with its mantle rough 
Enwrapped my blade. I was a source of pride 
To the master that owned me, who loved the word " Eide ! " 

The signal to chase the wild boar. 

V. 

But his day is gone. No longer, I ween. 
Shall he balance my blade so sharp and so keen. 
Or redden its point in the crimson gore. 
That flows from the veins of an old grey boar, 

At the end of a rattling run. 



THE 80NQ OF THE SPEAR, 



All me ! 'Tis better, they say, 
To have lived only once, it but for a day, 
like ephemeral insect floating on wings. 
Than not at all; for surely it brings 

Memories that ne'er can die! 



236 INDIAN SHIKAR. 

VIII. 

See! from yonder jungle creeps there forth 
A spotted panther's form ! In wrath 
His eyes gleam fierce with a subtle glare ; 
Whilst beyond, that shaggy mass of hair 

Covers a black bear's form ! 

IX. 

And now a ceaseless stream of hog 
Pours forth, and, splashing through yon bog, 
Makes for the rumnah to the right. 
Ah ! surely 'tis a gallant sight 

To view their bristly backs ! 

X. 

Led by a grim grisly monster grey. 
In the distance, lo ! they vanish away. 
To be followed soon by numbers more ; 
There ! you can count them by the score 

As they lumber over the plain. 

XI. 

Oh, I hold such a sight rouses the fire 
Of my sporting spirit, for I'd never tire 
Of biting deep through sinew and muscle 
In a headlong charge at the end of a tussle 

With the king of jungle — the Boar ! 

XII. 

I trow that every sportsman must feel 
Such a foe is worthy of his steel. 
And speaking as that steel, I swear 
There's no beast of the chase that can compare 

To the Indian Boar, as a foe ! 



THE SONG OF THE 8PBAE. 

xin. 
Then gather around me, dear shades of the past, 
Linger a moment while night shall yet last ; 
Let us live for a space our lives o'er again, 
Enjoy all their fun, foi^et all their pain. 

Grasping only tlieir joys ! 



past, 
When 'neath thy crnel fai^ tb; victim last 

Fell bleeding to the grouad ! 



238 INDIAN SHIKAR. 

XVI. 

Shades of all hog from " Baila " to " Chandkee," 
Come forth in your swanns from " Khoppa " and " Gojee, 
From mountain and corrie, from rumnah and plain, 
For the sake of " Lang Syne " we'll have once again 

Just one scuflBe more ! 

XVII. 

But now the grey dawn is slowly up creeping, 
And soon through the window old Sol will be peeping ; 
So farewell to you all, to those far and near, 
Though in life we were foes, in death ye are dear, 

Adieu till we meet once again ! 



239 



NOTE TO CHAPTEE III. 



Since chapter iii of Part L went to press, two letters 
have appeared in the ' Asian ' which have caused me to 
alter my opinion to a certain extent, though they corrob- 
orate in other respects what I have said, as they are 
written by sportsmen of unimpeachable authority. As 
they are of much interest, 1 append an extract from the 
first, which appeared in the 'Asian' of March 3, 1893. 
It is written by the Maharajah of Cooch Behar, dated 
" Shooting Camp, 26th February 1893," and is as follows : 

"I wish to reopen the question of length and weight 
of tigers. I do not believe myself in the existence of 
tigers over 10 feet 4 inches, unless in very few and far- 
between instances, when a tiger may be met with which 
possibly measures an inch or two longer. 

" The largest ever shot in these parts [the Duars and 
Terai] is 10 feet 2J inches only. The largest tiger as 
usually measured is not necessarily the biggest, as the 
tail is a large factor. I take the body measurements, the 
height (general bulk), girth, and weight, as being the true 
criterion of the size of tigers. 

"The following table will, I venture to think, clearly 
show what I mean: — 



240 



INDIAN SHIKAR. 



ii 
























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00 


00 


00 


00 Od CO lO 


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^ 


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Ol ^ 


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fH 


fH 


I-H fH I-H I-H 


^S 
















































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04 


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NOTE TO CHAPTER in. 



241 



" The last tigress of which measurements are given in 
the table is a record as regards length. She was killed 
here on the 20th inst." (February 1893). 

"Writing in the ' Aeian ' of March 17, 1893, from Pur- 
neah, dated March 13, 1893, Mr Fred. A. Shillingford 



" All sportsmen ought to be grateful to the Maharajah 
of Cooch Behar for the very interesting and valuable 
table of weights and measurements of tigers he has taken 
the pains to record and give to the public in your issue 
of 3d instant, and only a few further particulars were 
needed to make that table complete — namely, the dimen- 
sions of the skulls. Here is a table giving the measure- 



1 


■a 

1 


f 

■s 

1 


1 
■E 

1 


1 




1 


1 
1 




-I 






ft In. 


ft. i,.. 


ft. IB. 


It. in. 


lb. 








1 


19-4-71 


7 8 


3 4 


11 


3 7 




16.25" 


12.25" 


10.50" 


2 


fl-7-82 


7 3 


3 61 


10 9; 


3 7 


... 


15.00" 


13.00^ 


10.88" 


3 


17-3-84 


7 3 


3 5; 


10 8: 


3 8! 










i 


S3-8-8* 


7 1 


3 5 


10 e 


3 B 












5 


24-8-85 


6 61 


3 e 


10 o; 


3 e 










... 




5-2-88 


6 G 

7 Oi 

6 11 

7 
6 11 

6 11 

7 


3 G 
3 I 
3 1 
3 2i 
3 li 
3 1 
3 2 


9 10 
10 li 
10 
10 21 
10 Oj 
10 
10 2 


3 9 
3 8| 
3 4 
3 ^ 
S 2i 
3 5i 
3 H 


620. S 

636 
530 
493 
453 

4GS 


1125" 


11 


SI" 


9.87" 



menta of lialf-a-dozen large tigers shot in Pnmeah, as 
compared with the first six tigers, 10 feet and over, given 
in the Maharajah's list. The reason measurements of 
larger tigers are given when smaller ones would have 
VOL. I. Q 



242 INDIAN SHIKAR. 

afforded a better comparison, is that only some of the 
largest ones have the lengths of their bodies and tails 
separately recorded and their heights noted in my journal. 
The skull measurements of No. 6 tiger appear large, but 
they were taken from the fresh skull with the flesh boiled 
oflP, as it was given to a friend just going home. 

" The first point that will strike every one is the extreme 
shortness of the tails of the Bhutan Terai tigers as com- 
pared with those of the plains of Purneah ; and that the 
hill-tiger is stouter built, with a shorter tail, than the tiger 
of the plains, is, I think, admitted on all sides. The 
average length of the tails of the six Purneah tigers is 
3 feet 5.3 inches, against 3 feet 1.5 inches for the Cooch 
Behar ones, while the average length of their bodies difiers 
by less than 2 inches. Of course the extra size of the 
tigers is accountable for part of this diiference. The 
heaviest tiger in the Cooch Behar list, weighing 550 lb., 
was 9 feet 8 inches in length, and stood only 3 feet high 
— he had probably dined * not wisely but too well.' The 
unaccountable variations in height of all the tigers is very 
puzzling, as all the Purneah tigers are measured between 
perpendiculars, and so I fancy are the Cooch Behar ones, 
hence there is less chance of error. Mr E. A. Sterndale 
in his * Mammalia of India ' says, in speaking of measure- 
ments of tigers, that * bones cannot err,' and every sports- 
man generally preserves the skull as a trophy. It would 
be interesting if dimensions, taken with metal callipers, of 
the well-dried skulls of large tigers were recorded and 
comparisons instituted. The record skull in the Asiatic 
Museum is that of the first tiger given in the above table. 
So much has been written about the length of tigers that 
there is nothing fresh to bring forward, but it may be 
pointed out that nearly all experienced writers on Indian 
sport maintain the existence of 11-foot tigers. Among these 
may be mentioned Major Shakespear, Sir Joseph Fayrer, 



NOTE TO CHAPTER III. 243 

Mr F. B. Simpson, and Mr E. B. Baker. It was Jerdon's 
work on the Mammals of India that created a creed about 
the 10 -foot tiger; but Mr Sterndale says, 'Dr Jerdon, 
whom I knew intimately, was not, I may safely assert, 
a great tiger-shikari, and he based his opinion on evidence 
and with great caution,' and in this the writer can bear 
Mr Sterndale out. General Alexander A. A. Kinloch and 
the late Mr Sanderson follow Jerdon, but the experience 
of tiger-shooting by these two well-known sportsmen is 
comparatively small." 



PART II. 



SPOET AT HOME 



SHOOTING. 



CHAPTEE I. 

A NOVEMBER DAY IN BUCHAN. 

In these days, when " the schooLnaster is abroad" 
and every one educated au hout des ongles, it 
may seem presumption on my part to offer a few 
remarks as to the locality of Buchan.^ I venture 
to do so, however, seeing it is within the bounds 
of possibility that some of my readers may be as 
ignorant regarding its situation . and capabilities 
for sport as I personally was before I went to 
reside there. Buchan, which in Celtic times 
was a thanedom, is now one of the five districts 
of Aberdeenshire, and comprises that part of the 
county lying between the rivers Ythan and 

^ From Bou^chuariy Gaelic for " Laud in the bend of the ocean*'* 



248 SPORT AT HOME — SHOOTING. 

Deveron. Though to the lovers of scenery it 
possesses but few charms compared with the 
rugged glens, mountains, and rolling stretches 
of heather that adorn the Highlands, yet to the 
antiquary and sportsman it is full of interest. 

Somehow the uninteresting nature of the land 
seems reflected in its inhabitants; for though 
they are, as a rule, a thoroughly honest and 
kind-hearted set of people, of simple and primi- 
tive manners, among whom a certain element 
of superstition still lingers, they manage to hide 
a large share of their good qualities under a more 
than usually thick mantle of reserve and hrus- 
querie. The almost universal tameness of its 
scenery and the distinctive traits of the inhabi- 
tants have not tended to give the district a good 
name, and there are many who affect to look 
down on poor Buchan and all connected with it. 
I am not one of these, however ; for during my 
residence there I met with the very greatest 
kindness and hospitality from high and low, rich 
and poor ; whilst as to sport, I enjoyed the very 
best and most varied with rod and gun that any 
reasonable man could expect. The principal 
rivers — the Deveron, the Ythan, and the Ugies 
(North and South) — offered fair sport with salmon 
and grilse in the autumn; whilst for sea-trout, 
finnock (that mysterious fish whose identity I 



A NOVEMBER DAY IN BUCHAN. 249 

have never yet heard satisfactorily settled), and 
yellow trout, they rank very high. The charac- 
ter of the country is generally undulating. The 
great open fields, enclosed with turf banks and 
stone walls, or "dykes," as they are called, 
surmounted by that most detestable invention, 
barbed wire, afford splendid covert for partridges. 
The hill of Mormond, some 800 feet above the 
level of the sea, and the only big hill in Buchan, 
together with small stretches of heather and 
peat-bog, generally termed " mosses," shelter a fair 
number of grouse, and are generally a safe find 
for duck, teal, and snipe. Bordering the sea in 
places, huge piles of driven sand, devoid of all 
vegetation but the coarse bent-grass, though they 
seem by their barrenness a veritable Sahara, yet 
prove an unassailable refuge for that much-abused 
but most useful animal — from a sporting as well 
as a food-supply point of view — the rabbit ; whilst 
the caves that abound in the other and more 
rocky parts of the coast form admirable breeding- 
places for the blue rock-pigeon, besides numerous 
varieties of gulls, &c. Hares, thanks to the 
odious Ground Game Act, are comparatively 
scarce, except in a few places where they are 
strictly preserved. Pheasants do well where 
there is suflficient covert for them; but except 
in isolated places, like the policies and coverts 



250 SPORT AT HOME — SHOOTING. 

of private residences, there is hardly a tree to 
be seen. In some of the big woods, of which 
there are comparatively few, there are numerous 
roe-deer, and a good sprinkling of woodcock are 
at times to be found. Golden plover and lapwing 
are very numerous, and this about completes the 
list of game to be found. 

Having thus so far described the general nature 
of the land, I will proceed to give a more detailed 
account of a day's sport I enjoyed on some 1200 
acres of ground which I rented. Before doing 
so, I must warn my readers that they will find 
no description of hecatombs of game slain; for 
though I may lay myself open to the charge of 
being a slow and pottering sportsman in these 
fast-going days of " record-beating," yet J. hold 
that he enjoys his sport best who enjoys it in 
his own way. For my part, I think that the 
greatest enjoyment to be derived from shooting 
is working for your game yourself, finding it 
aided by dogs, and killing it in a sportsmanlike 
manner; and I must confess that personally I 
enjoyed this particular day's sport as much as, if 
not more than, any I have ever had in the British 
Isles, comparatively small though my bag was. 

The day in question, in the second week of 
November, opened dark and lowering. Heavy 
banks of grey clouds rolling up from the south- 



A NOVEMBER DAY IN BUCHAN. 251 

west gave promise of rain, and made it appear 
anything but a promising day for sport. How- 
ever, after breakfast and the matutinal visit to 
the stable and the kennel, I strolled up to the 
keeper's cottage to consult that worthy as to 
whether it would be advisable to go out. A 
twinge or two of rheumatism made me anything 
but keen to face the probable ducking I should 
get. Still, I did not want to stay at home — 
in fact, I only wanted a little encouragement. 
That encouragement I got, for, in reply to my 
inquiry, " Well, Cameron, what do you think 
of the day? Do you think we should try the 
Moss ? " I received the answer, given with all 
the carefulness of the canny Scot, "Weel, the 
day is no' that bad, sir. " I do not think we shall 
have much rain, though I couldna say for certain. 
But I think you should try the Moss. Eh, what 
a ducks, and wTiat a partridge I heer d there last 
night ! " This settled the question as far as I 
was concerned. 

" The Moss " was a piece of rough ground some 
150 acres in extent, distant about two miles. It 
was composed of heather, rushes, peat-bog, and 
rough grass, with two small ponds in its centre, 
and nimierous wet boggy ditches, the chosen 
haunt of duck, teal, and snipe, intersecting it. 
Arable fields surrounded it on three sides, whilst 



252 SPORT AT HOME — SHOOTING. 

along the fourth ran a narrow strip of stunted 
Scotch fir-trees, thick heather, and gorse — a 
very woodcocky -looking place, in fact. There 
were always duck and snipe on the Moss except 
in a hard frost, when they all vanished as if by 
magic; whilst in the thick heather, rank grass, 
and rushes all the partridges in the neighbour- 
hood seemed to "jug," and if you could only 
find them there in the daytime, they lay like 
stones, and got up singly in the most accommo- 
dating manner. I had had many a day s fun at 
the Moss, and never anything but good sport. 
I had a sneaking wish to give it a rest, for I 
had been there only a few days previously ; but 
Cameron's dictum settled the question. So, 
merely telling him I must go home and write 
some letters, and would call at his cottage at 
11.30, I strolled home. Correspondence being 
finished, I put fifty cartridges in my bag, 
including a few No. 8 for snipe, let my old 
retriever Sam out, and we sallied forth. 

The day seemed gradually to alter for the 
better, and by the time I and Cameron reached 
the ground the sun shone out fairly, and every- 
thing looked couleur de rose. After a short 
consultation, we determined to try the ponds 
first for duck, as I well knew that at the first 
shot those wide-awake denizens of the marsh 



A NOVEMBER DAY IN BUCHAN. 253 

would be up and away, winging their flight to 
more secluded spots. Now, my old Sam, though 
to me worth his weight in gold, and dear ,as 
the apple of my eye, could not, with all his 
good qualities, lay claim to being a "no -slip 
retriever." His keenness and love of sport 
occasionally overcame his more worldly wisdom 
and prudence, and he, like a canny Scot that 
he was, had an inclination to follow the old 
national adage and "mak sikker" — i.e., collar 
his game before it had a chance of running far. 
This fault, however, years of faithful companion- 
ship and honest work induced me to overlook, and 
in critical moments I was not above restraining 
the old dog's inherent — and shall we say natural ? 
— ardour by means of a slip. Running in at this 
particular spot, or going in quest of a moor-hen 
(which beastly bird seems to have an irresistible 
fascination for him), would be fatal to all my 
chances of success, and so the cord is slipped 
through the ring in his collar, and he is made 
fast to " master "^ro tern. With a No. -5 -shot 
cartridge in the right barrel. No. 4 in the left, 
and leaving Cameron crouching at the edge of 
the Moss with his spaniel Bob, Sam and I 
steal forward. Silently I creep on, with bent 
back, like Agag stepping delicately on the 
spongy sphagnum moss, and cautiously striding 



254 SPORT AT HOME — SHOOTING. 

across any little pools of water, fearful lest the 
least splash should betray our presence to the 
wary wild-fowl. A little ridge of heather and 
peat favour our quiet advance, and we reach 
the edge of the rush-fringed pool. A glance 
shows there are no duck there ; but at the far 
end a miniature shallow creek runs up, and 
loses itself amid aquatic plants and heather. 
It is, I know, a favourite feeding-ground, so 
thither we sneak on. In the intervening space, 
however, the water lies some three inches deep 
on the ground. We have to traverse some 
seventy yards, but ere half the distance is 
accomplished Sam incautiously makes a splash, 
owing to his stepping into an unusually deep 
puddle. That is enough. Up rise two teal 
a good forty yards off, and as I fire at the 
nearest bird, which I have the satisfaction of 
bowling over, a mallard gets up with a startled 
"quack," only the next moment to fall with a 
delightful thud on the heather beyond, in re- 
sponse to my left barrel. We crouch down 
behind some tall rushes and remain motionless, 
and in a few moments the remaining teal comes 
circling back high overhead in search of its mate, 
the whistle of its wings sounding clear, and the 
gleam of its under wing-feathers showing distinct 
in the November sun. Once, twice, it comes 



A NOVEMBER DAY IN BUCHAN. 255 

over me, but Sam and I remain immovable. 
The third time it almost makes up its mind 
to pitch ; but as it darts swiftly downwards it 
catches sight of us, and, recovering itself, shoots 
up with a quick, frightened side - movement. 
Too late. You are well within shot, my little 
green -and -russet -headed beauty, and I should 
indeed be a duffer to miss such a shot at thirty 
yards; so you, too, get your quietus. 

A couple of teal and a duck make not a bad 
beginning, so I call Cameron up, and he praises 
the stalk with a " Well done ! " as I hand him the 
spoil to be deposited in the game-bag. We then 
light a pipe, and determine to try for some snipe. 
On my way to stalk the duck I had risen several 
of the *^ wily long-bills," and I fear, in my heart 
of hearts, cursed their startled cry of alarm. 
Three of these Cameron had marked down, after 
they had indulged in their aerial gyrations for 
some five minutes. Two went down by a little 
ditch at the far end of the Moss, whilst the third 
lighted close beside- the other pool, round which 
some rushes had been cut. This was a favourite 
place for snipe, as I well knew ; and thinking he 
would probably have some companions, I went 
after the farthest lot first. Cameron had marked 
them to a yard, and when within some thirty 
yards, up they got, twisting away with rapid 



256 SPORT AT HOME — SHOOTING. 

flight. The first, an easy shot, I missed, proh 
pudor! but the left barrel cut him down hand- 
somely nearly fifty yards off*. We then went 
after the other, getting en route a jack-snipe that 
Sam hunted up out of some thick rushes with 
praiseworthy zeal. Arrived at the second pool, 
my surmise as to the spot in its vicinity contain- 
ing more than one snipe was verified. " Scaape, 
scaape, scaape ! " resounded all round me, and I 
had five shots as quick as I could load and fire, 
with the result that three more snipe were added 
to the bag. 

Time for lunch now ; so we make our way to 
the strip of wood before referred to, where, 
sheltered from the wind, we can enjoy our lunch, 
basking in the sun. How jolly these frugal 
shooting-lunches are ! A good packet of sand- 
wiches (give me for choice those made of potted 
rabbit, with a squeeze of lemon and a dash of 
yellow Nepaul pepper over them), a hunk of cake, 
and a sup of whisky-and- water out of the flask — 
what more does one want ? Does ever epicurean 
feast, or choicest efforts of the most talented cJief, 
taste so delicious, when partaken of amid all the 
luxury of a big and " swell " house, as this modest 
meal discussed under the blue vault of heaven, 
and amidst the fine bracing northern air? I 
think not. But then I am an enthusiast, and 



A NOVEMBER DAY IN BUCHAN. 257 

love nature and outdoor life, and so I must be 
forgiven, an it please you. 

En route, as we cross a strip of heather and 
rough grass, Sam cocks his ears, and his tail waves 
with excitement. Something is up, I see by the 
way the old dog keeps looking back at me, so I 
walk up to him. He is puzzled for a moment 
near a thick patch of rushes, then turns off at 
a tangent towards some stunted gorse. As he 
reaches this a partridge rises with a loud " whir," 
giving me such an easy shot that I cannot well 
miss. Sam having no slip on, takes advantage of 
the fact to promptly retrieve it ; and as he brings 
it back, his honest old face beaming with pride 
and gratification, I have not the heart to punish 
him more than by stern words of reproof. It 
would be indeed a heart of adamant that could 
thrash that black curly body which crouches low 
with such humble devotion, and such honesty 
beaming forth from those clear dark eyes. So 
Sam is let off this time, and stroking down the 
plumage of the partridge — for we like our game 
to look clean as well as being killed clean — we 
proceed to lunch. First, though, we lay out the 
bag to cool ; and not a bad show does it make — 
a duck, two teal, a partridge, and five snipe ; and 
as we munch our sandwiches we shoot them all 
over again, and admire their beautifiil blended 

VOL. I. R 



258 SPORT AT HOME — SHOOTING. 

plumage, and feel more keen than ever. Just 
one pipe, and then "forrard." 

I suggest trying some fields round the Moss, 
and endeavouring to drive birds into its thick 
covert ; but Cameron remarks, " I think we had 
better try down this little strip first, sir. It's a 
verra likely place for a woodcock. If you will go 
to yon far end, I will hunt it down with Bob till 
ye." I agree, and proceed to take up my position 
where a field-road bisects the belt of wood. Soon 
I hear Bob giving tongue, and an incautious bunny 
pops out over the bank and scuttles across the 
open. He is added to the bag easily enough. 
Then an old hare canters past, but I let her go, 
as I want to encourage hares here. She catches 
sight of me, and, turning off with ears laid back, 
speeds away over the Moss, and I can trace her 
course for a long way by the showers of spray she 
sends up as she splashes over the wet ground. This 
part of the strip holds nothing more beyond a 
wood-pigeon or two, who carefully keep out of shot ; 
so I move on to the far end. Cameron is half- 
way through when I hear a shout of " Mark cock ! 
cock forward ! " Yes, there he is, flapping along 
the outside of the covert, coming straight to me : 
when within some forty yards, however, he seems 
to alter his mind as to the direction he shall pur- 
sue, and turns sharp to the left, twisting through 



A NOVEMBER DAY IN BUCHAN. 259 

the branches of some fir-trees that out-top their 
fellows. It is a long shot, but I must risk it, and 
just as he crosses a space a little wider than the 
rest, I take a hurried snap-shot. Whether he 
has gone on or not I cannot tell, as the trees 
hide the view. "Did ye get him, sir?" asks 
Cameron as he comes up. " I cannot say," is my 
reply ; " but if he is down, I know where he 
ought to be." Accordingly Sam and Bob search 
every inch of ground " where he ought to be," 
but, alas ! with no success. A piece of a wing- 
feather sticking on the branch of a tree is all the 
trace we can find of our game ; so, after spending 
some twenty minutes in a fruitless search, we 
leave the strip and get out into the road that 
divides it from the Moss. We have gone about 
one hundred yards along this, when Sam seems 
strangely attracted by something. His head goes 
up, and he moves it from side to side, as if trying 
to catch some faint and fleeting odour blowing 
from the Moss. I wave him on, and he goes 
straight up to a clump of heather some fifty 
yards distant, pauses a moment, then dives in 
and seizes something, which he brings back to me 
with a triumphant air. It is my winged wood- 
cock, who, hidden from my sight, must have 
skimmed on after being struck. 

We now work some swede-fields, one of which 



260 SPORT AT HOME — SHOOTING. 

is on my "march." Here I get two brace of 
partridges, and miss several more. A hare, too, 
who evinces a desire to stray from home, is 
added to the bag. We have put three coveys of 
birds into the Moss, so follow them thither, and 
get three brace more, as well as another snipe. 
It is now time to turn homewards, and thither we 
shape our course. Skirting the edge of the Moss 
amongst the heather, Sam suddenly gets wind of 
something, which turns out to be a hen pheasant. 
As pheasants have no business in this outlying 
and isolated beat, I knock her over, and at the 
report her mate, a fine old cock, flusters up out 
of the tall heather in a great state of commotion, 
and is accounted for with the left barrel. Going 
along the road, we see a flock of golden plover 
circling round, and so we crouch down under the 
dyke-side and watch. After wheeling and skim- 
ming about for some time, they settle in a ploughed 
field, right in the middle, and well out of shot. The 
field is a long one, and about 130 yards across; so I 
crawl down behind the bank that bounds one side, 
whilst Cameron walks down, showing himself, a 
little distance beyond the other. This manoeuvre 
is to a certain extent successful, for the birds run 
towards me ; but nearer than some sixty yards 
they will not come, so I determine to risk a shot, 
long one though it is, and as golden plover have 



A NOVEMBER DAY IN BUCHAN. 261 

been very uncommon this season, and it is per- 
missible to get them anyhow, I take a pot-shot 
on the ground, trying to get two in line before 
firing. In this endeavour, however, I am foiled ; 
so aiming at the nearest bird, I fire, and empty 
my left barrel at the flock as they rise. One 
lies dead, whilst another legs it down the field ; 
but Sam soon captures the truant. A third we 
see going away hard hit ; but he disappears over 
a bit of rising ground, and we fail to account for 
him. And now we continue our homeward jour- 
ney till we reach a long strip of beech-wood that 
bounds my shooting. This literally swarms with 
wood-pigeons, and as they are now coming in to 
roost, I suggest to Cameron that I shall go on 
and post myself at one end, whilst he walks up 
the wood and puts them over to me. I am keen 
on slaying some of these turnip-marauders, for I 
have spent many an hour trying to circumvent 
them, with but scant success. As sure as I go 
and stop in one bit of covert where they are in 
the habit of roosting, so surely do they select 
some other spot for their resting-place ; and as 
to trying for a shot by walking quietly under 
the trees, that is out of the question, for the 
wretches seem to know intuitively that their 
safest course is to leave the tree the opposite 
side to the gun, which course is, as you all know. 



262 SPOBT AT HOME— SHOOTING. 

productive of much annoyance and discomfiture 
to the gunner. Altogether, I am very angry 
with them, and this seems a good opportunity of 
paying off old scores. Making a detour, I get 
down to the end of the Old Wood, as it is called. 
This is a broad strip of giant beeches, with an 
undergrowth of gorse and heather, and joins on 
to another younger and thicker bit of covert, 
from which it is divided by a high bank, with 
the inevitable strand of barbed wire running 
along the top, some foot and a half above the 
dyke. A barbed-wire fence also extends along 
the outside of the Old Wood, dividing it fi^-om 
a stubble-field. A small burn trickles down the 
bottom of the wood on the other side. Putting 
the slip on Sam, I make him lie down at my 
feet, and we conceal ourselves as best we can 
behind the gnarled and knotted trunk of a beech- 
tree, where there is a good open space in front 
of me. What a peaceful evening it was ! A 
gentle breeze just stirred the tops of the trees, 
now almost bare of leaf The sun was sinking 
to rest in a bed of purple and gold behind yon 
hill to the westward, and glancing here and there, 
through the lattice -work of branches, on the 
green and brown carpet of moss and fallen leaves. 
The burn, rippling on down below, seemed to sing 
a soothing song, and its music was added to by 



A NOVEMBER DAY IN BUCHAN. 263 

the cheerful twitter of a robin and the cry of 
blackbirds as they bustled about before going 
to roost. A hare stole quietly past, unnoticed 
except by Sam, who pricked his ears and looked 
up to me as if to ask why I did not shoot it. 
On the stubble the partridges were calling, and 
away behind me the " cock-cock ! " of a pheasant 
sounded clear and sharp; while the constant 
cooing in my direct front betokened that there 
any number of pigeons were waiting to be shot. 
I could not help feeling that, even if I did not 
get a shot, my time of waiting would not have 
been thrown away ; for such moments spent amid 
the solitude of nature must appeal to all one's 
better feelings, and bring home with irresistible 
force the beauty and splendour, as well as the 
wonders, of the universe. 

Thus musing, I happened to turn my eyes to 
the left, and there, as if carved out of stone, and 
some fifty yards from me, stood a roedeer. I had 
shot one not far from this spot about ten days 
previously, but did not know there was another 
about. What a graceful airy form it was ! I 
felt half inclined to spare it ; but calling to 
mind numerous young trees lately planted by my 
landlord and about whose growth he was par- 
ticularly anxious, and having visions of cdtdettes 
de chevreuil floating in my mind, all scruples 



264 SPORT AT HOME — SHOOTING. 

vanished, and I determined to add venison to 
my already varied bag. Roedeer, though such 
bonny beasts, are very destructive to young 
trees, nibbling off the top growths in wanton 
mischief; and though some people affect to 
despise their flesh as an article of food, I must 
confess I am not among the number, for, properly 
cooked, it is to my mind a feast fit for Lucullus. 
There she stood, gazing straight at me. Sam did 
not see or notice her, and I was well hidden ; so 
I remained motionless, not daring to wink an 
eyelid even, for the space of two or three minutes. 
This prolonged scrutiny probably settled in the 
deer's mind that my head was only some branch 
or excrescence of the tree behind which T stood, 
and aiS she had not got my wind, she began 
grazing and fed on to within some thirty-five 
yards of me. Then something seemed to alarm 
her, for she stopped feeding, gave an impatient 
stamp with a fore-foot, and looked back over her 
shoulder in the direction where, in the distance 
between the trees, I saw Cameron advancing. 
Now or never, I thought ; so aiming well behind 
the shoulder I fired. With a tremendous bound 
she dashed forward, then turning rapidly to the 
left, sped away towards Cameron. "Confound 
it, I have missed ! " I ejaculated inwardly. Then 
came a shout from Cameron of "Roe, roe. 



A NOVEMBER DAY IN BUCHAN. 265 

forward ! " and I saw the deer coming back to me 
and skirting the wire fence that bounded the 
wood, followed by Bob, bowling along in full cry 
some seventy yards behind. I saw she must pass 
me out of shot from where I was stationed, so 
ran as hard as I could to cut her oflT, Sam strain- 
ing at the slip and nearly upsetting me ; and as 
she bounded through a patch of gorse some thirty 
yards distant, I fired both barrels (and nearly 
fell over Sam in his frantic excitement), but 
apparently without effect, and before I could 
re-load, the deer with a most surprising bound 
cleared bank and barbed wire in her stride, and 
disappeared amid the thick larches of the adjoin- 
ing covert. To say I was annoyed and disgusted 
at this second failure would but inadequately 
express my feelings ; I was downright savage. 
I felt sure I had not missed ; but wounding an 
animal or bird and failing to bag, is to my mind 
but poor consolation, and to miss clean is far 
preferable. I slipped Sam on the bare chance of 
the poor brute having only run a little way and 
then died, and he and Bob disappeared from my 
sight. Then Cameron came up, and to him I 
related what a mess I had made of the whole 
thing. His reply, though containing an element 
of consolation in it, did not reassure me, how- 
ever. " Ye struck her hard your first shot, sir. 



266 SPORT AT HOME — SHOOTING. 

and she canna go far." ** Well," I thought, " if 
she goes on for ten minutes at the rate I last saw 
her going, shell soon be off my ground, and there 
is no covert worth speaking of to hold her for 
miles. There," I added to Cameron, as Sam came 
back to me with his red tongue lolling out of his 
mouth, very pumped, and looking rather ashamed 
of himself, though somewhat reproachfully at me, 
— as much as to say, " Well, I never thought you 
would fire at a sheep and then want me to retrieve 
it " (he had never seen a roedeer before) — " I told 
you so ; we'll never see the beast again, and 
goodness knows where your dog has gone ! " 
" She's no' gone far, sir ; and Bob will have got 
hold of her, I'm thinking. We'll just wa'k on 
and see," was the somewhat stoical reply. Well, 
we did " wa'k on," and with the result that, some 
300 yards on in the covert, we saw a white patch 
down by the burn, " He's got her ! " exclaimed 
Cameron excitedly, as he scrambled down the 
bank. Yes, it was quite true. There was the 
deer lying on its back with its head in the little 
burn, whilst Bob was making frantic efforts to 
pull her out ; and the white patch we had seen 
was the fur on the deer's stomach. Then all 
feeling of annoyance and disappointment vanished, 
and gave way to those of pleasure and inward 
congratulation. I forgave Sam nearly puUing me 



IS y, - ^ «• ♦ * 

t \ »• • • •* w 









• ~ • 



A NOVEMBER DAY IN BUCHAN. 267 

over, and telling me a lie, as I thought he had. 
The fact was, the old dog had followed the deer, 
but finding he could not carry it, had come back 
to me. 

Twilight was now deepening into night ; so, 
after bleeding the deer and lighting a pipe, 
Cameron hoisted her on to his shoulders, whilst 
I coUared the game-bag, and we trudged home 
discussing the day's sport ; and when the bag 
was laid out in the game-larder it made a goodly 
show, comprising, as it did, one roedeer, one hare, 
one rabbit, one mallard, two teal, six snipe, eleven 
partridges, two pheasants, one woodcock, and 
two golden plover — total, twenty - eight head. 
Not a bad day's sport, I think ; and though I 
didn't get any of the pigeons, it was quite good 
enough, in my opinion, for one gun, and a credit 
to Buchan. 



I'rojtsior Cameron deliveriiis a ledur. 



268 



CHAPTER 11. 



A ROEDEER-DRI VE. 



Not a very high form of sport, perhaps, is roedeer- 
driving, but instructive and amusing withal (even 
though it bring the blush of shame to our cheeks). 
Nor is it without its concomitant amount of dan- 
ger. The sceptic will prick up his ears at the 
word danger, and ask where it comes in — for any- 
thing like peril to life and limb in the pursuit of 
such a timid and harmless little animal as a roe- 
deer seems at first sight an absurdity ; and yet 
there is danger, at least when you form a unit of 
the heterogeneous concourse of guns that make up 
a roedeer-driving party in the big woods of Aber- 
deenshire, Perthshire, or other counties of Scot- 
land. Let me explain. 

On these occasions a number of guns to guard 
all the passes and prevent roe breaking back is a 
necessity, and, moreover, the laird or lessee of the 
shooting takes the opportunity aflPorded by his 



A ROEDEER-DRIVE. 269 

annual chasse d chevreuil, if I may use a Galli- 
cism, to invite all the farmers in the neighbour- 
hood who have any leanings towards sport to par- 
ticipate in the fun. Many of com^se do not come ; 
but, on the other hand, many do, and bring with 
them guns of not only fearful and antiquated 
make, but uncertain power. Truly, some are of 
an awful description. Some canny Scot will 
probably be armed with a regular blunderbuss 
that one of his " forebears " used in the " '45 " ; 
another's weapon wDl have barrel and stock bound 
together with a lashing of very rotten-looking 
string ; whilst the younger members of the com- 
munity, anxious to be in the fashion, blossom out 
into Brummagem breech-loaders (as a rule covered 
with rust), whose very look fills you with suspicion 
and awe. But, independently of the danger from 
such weapons, there is a greater one — ^viz., the 
excitement and carelessness of their owners, who 
are all as keen as mustard to " loose off" at some- 
thing. No matter what gets up, or at what range, 
or in what direction, it is saluted with a volley. 
By sheer good luck the quarry may escape, or be 
blown to pieces ; but as often as not a few stray 
pellets will find their billet, if not in the person of 
one of the forward guns, at all events in the legs 
of a fellow-beater. I should have prefaced these 
remarks by saying that, with a few exceptions, 



272 SPORT AT HOME — SHOOTING. 

have been " dusting " on the plantation - dyke. 
Then we move on for the more serious business of 
the day, and this involves beating a hill of some 
800 acres, whose lower part is covered with a thick 
growth of fir-trees, ranging from twenty feet to 
twenty-five feet in height, whilst in its upper 
part the trees are fewer and smaller, till they 
dwindle away on the bare sky-line, where nothing 
but heather will grow. Three beats through 
this produce but little — a rabbit or two, a brace 
of cock pheasants, and a hen ditto, blown to 
pieces by an eager farmer before she was well on 
the wing, being the sum total ; and then, whilst 
the beaters straggle out and collect on a rough 
moorland-road, we ^'guns" walk on a good mile 
to take up our position for one of the drives of 
the day. It is a longish step and rough walking, 
but at last we are all posted in a newly cut drive 
behind barricades of freshly lopped fir -boughs. 
The trees here are low, not more than ten feet 
high, the covert thick, and one of the " flankers " 
— viz., a keeper fi:om an adjoining estate — oc- 
cupies the most unlikely post behind a small 
fir-tree in the open. I mention this with a pur- 
pose, for the result bore out what was upper- 
most in my mind. This was what happened. 
A long wait, a brace of cock pheasants — one 
of which was well killed by the general, and 



A ROEDEER-DRIVE. 2Y3 

the other missed by myself — and a shot by the 
" flanker," was all that the beat produced. The 
shot from the keeper was at a roe, which he 
vowed he knocked over, but which could never be 
found. When the beaters came up the report was, 
^' Three roe put up, but all broke back." Then 
another and another beat, all with a like result. 
Roe seen and fired at by some of the beaters, but 
all broke back. Reader, can you guess the cause ? 
If not, I could ; and it was this. The rides had 
only been cut a week before, and the roe, being 
wary and suspicious animals, refused to cross 
them. Well, this did not strike the authorities, 
and it was no business of mine to enlighten them, 
for I had come out to learn, not to teach. 

When one o'clock came it was lunch-time, and 
this was by no means unwelcome ; for the keen 
air had generated an appetite that made veni- 
son-pasties, bread and cheese, to say nothing of 
sundry jam-pufis and cake, with just one glass of 
Glenlivet or brown sherry, a feast fit for Lucullus. 
The beaters, however, preferred less dainty fare, 
and it took them some time to put away huge 
rabbit -pies, a baronial mass of beef, and I am 
afraid to say how much whisky. It was getting 
on for 3 p.m. before we once more took the 
field. 

This beat, we were informed, was a certainty. 
VOL. I, 9 



274 SPORT AT HOME — SHOOTING. 

Ah me ! those " certainties," how often they 
prove fallacies ! and this was no exception to the 
rule. But I must not anticipate. The wind was 
right, and there were no fresh-cut rides to scare 
our quarry. The guns were cunningly posted, I 
being placed in a spot where " last year So-and- 
so got two bucks." Nay, the very pass, not five- 
and- twenty yards distant, was pointed out to 
me. But, alas ! the result was just the same ; 
four roe, one bearing a grand head, broke back. 
And hitherto we had not caught sight of horn or 
hoof ! But there was more work before us, and 
another " certain " beat to be done. This, indeed, 
looked likely. The ground sloped upwards — a 
mass of tangled heather and small stunted fir- 
trees. The guns were well posted, where they 
could see and yet be unseen, and if Diana was to 
favour us, now was surely her time. The beaters 
had a long way to go round, and so it was pleasant 
to recline on the soft cushion of lichen and 
heather, and, whilst smoking the soothing pipe, 
let the eye wander over the fair landscape and 
vast solitudes stretching away as far as vision 
went. Light and shade mingled fitfully on 
strath and brae, now glancing on some stackyaid 
or crofter's white cottage, now deepening on 
some patch of dark fir - wood ; whilst away on 
the hori^n a stretch of rugged hills, with Ben- 



A ROEDEER-DRIVE. 275 

achie's peak towering above them, cut the sky- 
Hne. Bar the sough of the wind and the faint 
voice of a distant beater, not a sound broke the 
stillness ; and a modest little wren, hopping and 
twittering in a diminutive fir-tree close by, was 
the only sign of life. Yes, even if one did not 
get sport, on such a day as this it was at least 
pleasant to be out of doors and drink in " God's 
glorious oxygen." 

But, hark ! that shrill whistle is the signal for 
the line of skirmishers to advance, and we must 
be on the qui vive ; so, knocking the ashes out of 
my pipe, I take post behind a scrubby tree, and 
become all attention. What is that bird winging 
its way towards us with heavy flight ? A black- 
cock surely. Yes. See, on he comes, high up, a 
sporting shot, and going at a greater pace than 
he looks. But he is not out of shot, and holding 
well forward as he cwsses, a charge of No. 4 
brings hiin crashing down into the heather some 
forty yards away. And now I can see the beaters 
beginning to show in the distance, where the 
growth of young fir-trees becomes thinner, and 
puffs of smoke show that the guns with them, 
at any rate, are having some fun. Then I catch 
sight of a brown form glancing over an open spot 
and coming straight towards me. A roe for 
certain, but whether buck or doe distance pre- 



276 SPORT AT HOME — SHOOTING. 

vents my telling. Lost sight of for a moment, it 
reappears, then stops and looks back, listening to 
the shouts of the beaters. Ah ! yes ; it is a buck. 
I can see his horns now as he bobs on over the 
thick heather in a zigzag course. Within a 
couple of hundred yards of my post, however, 
something arouses his suspicions. Maybe I was 
not really so well concealed as I thought ; maybe 
the sun glinted on my gun-barrel ; for, swinging 
sharp to his left, he passed within forty-five yards 
of one of the other guns. Two barrels saluted him 
en passant, but they apparently had no eflPect, 
as I could see the brown form bobbing away for 
some distance, till, crossing the brow of a small 
hillock, he was lost to sight. The beaters now 
began to draw up, and though they put up a few 
pheasants, none came my way ; and the only shot 
I got was at an old hare, who came cantering up 
in the most confiding way. When the beat was 
nearly over, a tremendous hubbub and cries of 
" Roe ! roe ! " followed by several dropping shots 
in a thick patch of covert, denoted something was 
up ; and on emerging into the road the result 
was apparent — a nice young buck, shot by a 
farmer, and the latter explaining how " the 
beastie wad ha' knock-ed me o'er, mon, had I no' 
fired." (He had nearly bagged a beater at the 
same time, and was apologising.) 



A ROEDEER-DRIVE. 277 

The game gralloched, we moved on to the most 
litely-looking beat of the day. The lower part 
consisted of young fir-trees, tall heather, and 
thick gorse. On the higher side the trees were 
sparse and of stunted growth, getting smaller 
and smaller, till some 200 yards from the top of 
the hill they gave place to heather entirely. The 
guns were posted in a gully that bounded the 
covert, and the beat began. Not a single shot 
did any one of us get, except that one of the 
party had a very long shot at an old cock grouse 
that soared overhead as if in insolent defiance. 
Talk of insolence, indeed ! Had you carried your 
eye up to the summit of the hill, you would have 
seen, sharply defined against the sky-line, two 
roedeer gazing calmly down on us as we all " for- 
gathered." For full five minutes did they stand 
staring, then trotted a few yards, and at last, 
turning the white patches on their quarters to- 
wards us, disappeared. The shades of evening 
were now gathering, and it was time to turn 
homewards; so it was resolved to take a wide 
beat back the whole length of one - half of the 
ground we had tried in the morning, and whilst 
three of the party went forward to the end, the 
beaters were to sweep round a shoulder of the 
hill, and endeavour to force any roe that might be 
there towards the fourth gun and myself, who 



278 SPORT AT HOME — SHOOTING. 

were posted half-way. They did indeed move 
some, but it was the old story of breaking back. 
It was during this beat I have to confess missing 
a woodcock shamefully. Truth to tell, I had be- 
come careless, and tired of standing and doing 
nothing ; so as Master Longbill flitted past me in 
the deepening twilight, I was taken unawares 
and let him get almost too far ; an intervening 
tree did the rest. Then on with the beaters, 
and at the very end of the beat a shot away in 
a corner of a field finished the day. This was 
from our host, who had taken the most unlikely 
post, and was rewarded, for one of the crafty 
little deer had slipped out of a corner of the 
covert, had crossed a field, and was re-entering a 
thick patch of fir-trees when it succumbed to a 
charge of No. 4 shot. 

And now, as all gather round, let us see how 
the bag totals up : two roedeer, three black- 
game, two grouse, nine pheasants, one wood- 
cock, two wood-pigeons, eight hares, and sixteen 
rabbits = forty - three head — not a very grand 
total, perhaps, but sufficiently varied, neverthe- 
less : no accidents, and a crisp, bright, autumnal 
day in the open air, such as one only gets in 
dear bonny Scotland — all mercies to be thankful 
for. Seventeen roedeer were reported as having 
been seen, and though probably many of these 



A ROEDEBE-DBIVB. 279 

came to view more than once, I fancy the covert 
must have held very nearly a dozen. After all, 
though, I was not sorry they escaped, dearly as 
my soul loveth savoury meat in the shape of 
cdtelettes de chevreuil. At any rate, I do not 
regret not having been responsible for the death 
of any. 



280 



CHAPTER III. 

THE FEAST OF ST PARTRIDGE— DOGS OR DRIVING? 

Let others boast of the glories of grouse, and 
indulge in rapturous talk about the purple 
heather, the bracing air, and all the delights of 
Highland shooting ; but give us the bonny little 
brown bird. For though the few favoured in- 
dividuals who are enabled to participate in the 
aristocratic sport of grouse - shooting may be 
described as terque, quaterque, heati^ yet the 
pursuit of the more humble partridge appeals 
more directly to the mass of English sportsmen, 
and from the very fact of being more accessible 
to the majority, independently of being less ex- 
pensive, is more popular. Grouse -shooting not 
only involves travelling a long distance, but is 
more or less expensive. Fairly good partridge- 
shooting, on the other hand, can be rented for 
a comparatively moderate sum, and may be ob- 
tained within an hour or two of town. In these 



THE FEAST OF ST PARTRIDGE. 281 

cosmopolitan days, no slight argument in its 
favour is that it is not confined to the moneyed 
classes exclusively, as many a farmer enjoys his 
bit of partridge -shooting over a brace of good 
dogs, and modest bag of eight to ten brace of 
birds, with a few rabbits and an odd hare or 
two, as much as the owner of a Norfolk manor, 
whose party of six to eight guns walk the fields 
in line, and account for hecatombs of slain. 

Following the march of events, the conditions 
under which the sport is nowadays pursued has 
altered considerably within the last twenty-five 
to thirty years. Agricultural science and high 
farming have both metamorphosed the land in 
many districts. The high sickle-reaped stubbles 
have given way to closely shorn machine -cut 
fields, and rough tussocky pastures, under the 
hand of the drainer, have in many places van- 
ished. Turnips, it is true, remain, and birds 
having, like their pursuers, been educated, and 
their wits sharpened, seldom lie well nowadays 
in any other cover (except perhaps clover), the 
entrance of the sportsmen at one corner of a field 
being generally the signal for the covey to leave 
it at the other, after they have been shot at 
once or twice. Still, closely shorn as are the 
stubbles of to-day, they yet offer attraction to 
the ^* little brown birds," in the shape of spilt 



282 SPORT AT HOME — SHOOTING. 

corn, or some spot where they can " dust " under 
a sunny bank, and from these feeding - grounds 
it is not unusual to send men to drive them 
into the turnips an hour or two before the 
sportsmen set out. 

In the days of our fathers operations were con- 
ducted very differently from what they are now. 
Men then did not travel so far afield for their 
amusement with dog and gun. Sporting energies 
that had been pent up ever since the first day 
of February were bubbling over with excitement 
and anticipation, and '^ The First" was looked 
forward to with a relish and delight that in 
these days of bustle and high pressure are prac- 
tically unknown. We have become too hlase^ 
and to many satiated with grouse-slaughter, the 
charms of the 1st September are viewed with 
indifference. Formerly the sportsman was up at 
*^ strike of day," and by the time that the modem 
"masher" is only thinking of turning out of bed, 
had tramped many a mile and had bagged his 
eight to ten brace of partridges. Indefatigably, 
too, did they work till noontide, when heat and 
exhaustion called for a halt under some spread- 
ing oak, or straggling hedge where the nuts were 
browning on the hazel-bushes, and the dog-rose 
seed -pods assuming their autumnal tints of 
orange and scarlet. Then the game-bag con- 



THE FEAST OF ST PARTRIDGE. 283 

tained the modest lunch, consisting of sand- 
wiches, with a bit of bread and cheese and a 
few pears or harvest apples ; while a small keg 
of beer and a pocket -flask of sherry or whisky- 
provided drink for master and man. With such 
simple fare the sportsman of yore was contented, 
nay, even enjoyed himself, and after an hour s 
rest would set forth with renewed vigour, till 
the lengthening shadows, and the calling of the 
scattered coveys as they reassembled on their 
feeding-grounds, warned him it was time to turn 
homewards ; and then, as the mists of evening 
crept up and the dew began to fall, he would 
reach home, tired and footsore maybe, but feeling 
brimful of health and spirits, able to do ample 
justice to his dinner and a glass or two of old 
port, conscious that he had worked for and shot 
his game like a true sportsman. 

How different the conditions of to-day ! An 
hour of leisurely dressing, and then the sports- 
man saunters down to a late breakfast. A drive 
to the place of meeting, and Golden Youth takes 
his " hammerless ejector" gun, assumes his place 
in the line, cqmposed of eight or ten guns, with 
halfra-dozen keepers with their led retrievers, 
and double the number of beaters, and plods on, 
taking no actual part in the sport beyond turn- 
ing himself into a mere shooting-machine. If a 



284 SPORT AT HOME — SHOOTING. 

winged bird is down, he is left to be found 
(perhaps?) some hours after by a keeper, whose 
duty it is to go round and pick up the wounded 
— the line must not be delayed, time is too 
precious ; and so the game goes on till mid-day, 
when a snowy cloth, silver, champagne, and a 
hot lunch, with numerous delicacies, are found 
necessary to recruit exhausted energies. Then, 
after lunch and the inevitable cigarette, the game 
begins da capo^ till the waggonette meets the 
party, and by seven o'clock our sportsman has 
donned a gorgeous silk-faced smoking-coat, is 
dallying with Phyllis in the drawing-room, and 
endeavouring by the means of " five-o'clock tea " 
and appetite-provocative dainties to nerve him- 
self for dinner a couple of hours later. Then 
the billiard or smoking room, and " fizzy drinks," 
and at one o'clock the party breaks up. 

No untrue picture this, believe me, of the 
sporting youth of the day and his artificial life. 
Not that I would brand all as such — for there 
are many good men and true, as good and keen 
sportsmen as ever their forefathers were ; but it is 
the tendency of an age of luxury, a period when 
every one endeavours to outvie the other, and 
cram into a month an amount of shooting that 
would have lasted his "forebears" for a whole 
season. 



THE FEAST OF ST PARTRIDGE. 285 

Let your spirit stray with me in the realms of 
fancy, and though we cannot trudge through the 
dew-di'enched turnips, and see Don and Bess at 
work in proprid persond, we can at least do so 
in imagination. 

It is a bright glorious morning, with just that 
touch of keenness in the air that makes autumn 
invigorating, as we light our pipes at the front 
door, after an eight-o'clock breakfast. John, the 
keeper, is waiting outside with his aide-de-chasse 
"Willum," the watcher and rabbit-catcher, at- 
tended by a couple of minor satellites, who are 
to mark and carry the game ; and these, touching 
their caps respectfully, greet us with "Marnin', 
gentlemen." A few minutes' conversation with 
John as to our beat, and after learning that there 
are a couple of good coveys in Farmer Dymond's 
roots, another in the big stubble facing Littleford, 
three more on the rough ground on the hill, and 
several others, we slightly alter the worthy 
John's plan of operations, and shouldering our 
guns, toddle off. Passing through the lodge- 
gate, we follow the highroad for a few hundred 
yards, and then turn up a narrow lane, on whose 
banks ferns, red campion, brambles, nettles, and 
other plants of the field, all struggle for suprem- 
acy, till the little-used cart-track ends in a stile. 
Here we meet John's son, a fresh, ruddy-looking 



286 SPORT AT HOME — SHOOTING. 

youth of some sixteen summers, who is holding 
a leash of pointefrs, shivering and quivering with 
excitement as only pointers can, and hardly do 
they seem to heed yQung John's warning of 
" Down, Don ; down, Shot ; what be doin', Bess ? " 
as the latter tugs and strains at her chain. A pat 
all round, and then Don and Bess are uncoupled 
in a large grass -field which separates us from 
Farmer Dymond's roots. Round they tear in 
the full exuberance of liberty, and we let them 
have their fling as we stroll on. At last the 
mangolds are reached — a fine crop indeed, the 
giant yellow globes growing half out of the soil, 
while their broad, cool - looking, glossy foliage 
bears ample evidence that Farmer Dymond has 
been no niggard with his manure. Now for 
our fun ; and as we open our guns and drop 
in the cartridges, our inmost souls are aglow 
with excitement and expectancy. " Hold up ! " 
Away go the pointers, quartering their ground 
with precision, crossing and recrossing each 
other as they glide up and down the drills, 
moving rapidly, yet stealthily, as well -broken 
dogs should ; we would not tolerate a blustering 
brute that floundered through crosswise, kicking 
up no end of a row. Ha ! " To ho ! steady, 
good dogs." See ! they are on the point of cross- 



THE FEAST OF ST PARTRIDGE. 287 

ing each other when Bess stops dead short in her 
stride, and half swings round, her nose almost 
bent round to her quarters, her body curved and 
her stifle-joint nearly touching the ground, so 
suddenly has she acknowledged the delicious bou- 
quet de perdrix. Her stern is extended straight 
and stiff as a ramrod, her eyes are fixed in a 
glassy stare, and were it not for the almost im- 
perceptible quiver in her tail and the corners 
of her mouth, and the saliva that trickles from 
the latter, you might fancy she was carved out 
of stone. Don " backs " to perfection, with one 
foot raised, as we walk up. Then "Wh-i-rr," 
and, like a catharine-wheel, a covey of nine burst 
from the protecting cover, and with a chirrup of 
alarm fleet onwards. Our four barrels ring out, 
and four of the number, including the old cock, 
whom you have deftly stopped with your right 
barrel, are left behind. Down drop the dogs 
^* to shot,'* and after three of the birds have 
been gathered, and a runner has afforded Sam, 
the retriever, some little fun, we proceed onwards. 
Varying luck attends our progress, as stubble, 
clover, rough ground, and roots are tried, and 
the bag swells by degrees. 

Then as we near a gate opening into a lane, 
we see Mabel and Lilian, attired in all the charm 



288 SPORT AT HOME — SHOOTING. 

of jaunty sailor-hats, jackets, and coquettish tailor- 
made dresses, advancing towards us attended by 
Spot, the fox-terrier, while behind them a groom 
carries rugs and the luncheon-basket. A pleasant 
alfresco meal, topped up with just one glass of 
brown sherry, a smoke, and a pleasant half-hour's 
chat and flirtation (!) — not out of place on such 
a heavenly day ; an ungallant, perhaps, but firm 
refiisal to allow our fair friends to walk with the 
guns ; and then John, " Willum," and Co. having 
done ample justice to their share of the " prog," 
we bid adieu to our charmers and once more take 
the field. 

So the hours pass pleasantly : now a corn-crake 
flops out of some seed-clover, affording an easy 
shot ; a hare or swift-scuttling bunny has its 
career cut short with a charge of shot ; or a 
wood-pigeon, less wary than his comrades, gets 
slated and adds variety to the bag. Then, when 
the day is nearly over, Bess, backed by Shot, 
makes a lovely point at the edge of some turnips ; 
and you wind up the day with a neat right and 
left on which you will ever congratulate yourself. 

And now enough. Let us light our pipes and 
see what the bags contain, including what our 
lady friends have taken home in the pony-cart. 
Lay the birds out in pairs, carefully smooth down 






^ ta % 



w C * X 



b W 

b 

% W ^ •> 



« • • b 



THE I'DAST OF ST PARTRIDGE. 28d 

their lovely plumage, and let us count : fifteen 
and a half brace of partridges, two landrails, one 
wood-pigeon, five hares, eleven rabbits, and a 
marauding jay, whose blue wing-feathers will be 
useful for fly-dressing — a not unsatisfactory total 
of fifty - one head ; well worked for and well 
walked for. Not such a bad day. May we never 
have a worse one on a First of September ! 

And now for the other side of the question, 
— "driving,'' to wit. 

The conventional idea connected with par- 
tridge-shooting is, that the keen sportsman is 
early afield and tramping the stubble and dew- 
drenched turnips in the wake of his trusty 
pointers, but the reality nowadays is often 
very different. No doubt in many places this 
modus operandi is still pursued ; but in a great 
many more, and, in fact, on all large manors 
where big bags are made on " the First," a far 
different method prevails. There, "driving," or 
else "walking up," the birds is resorted to, 
and though perhaps not such real enjoyment to 
some as shooting over dogs, yet it is by no 
means to be despised; for to make a bag of 
"driven" partridges calls for not only much 
woodcraft displayed by the person managing the 
drive, but also skill on the part of the shooters. 

VOL. I. T 



290 SPORT AT HOME — SHOOTING. 

Granted that the pleasure of shooting over a 
brace of good dogs is the perfection of sport, 
and perhaps the most enjoyable, yet where 
birds are very thick it becomes almost a matter 
of impossibility to make the extraordinarily big 
bags over them that have been made in driv- 
ing. Not that I am one of those who hold that 
quantity is the quintessence of sport, and that 
it can be measured by the number of slain ; but 
where there is a large head of game to be 
killed, you must have plenty of guns. 

Driving, too, as generally resorted to in the 
great game counties — such as Norfolk, &c. — is 
a decided boon to the rural population ; for it 
gives employment to labour of all kinds, and 
causes money to circulate in the district. Igno- 
rant or interested agitators may thunder dia- 
tribes against the injustice of the Game Laws, 
but it should be remembered by such individuals 
that the strongest evidence given in favom* of 
their retention was that offered by the farmers 
themselves before a Select Committee of the 
House of Commons in 1873. When, too, it is 
taken into consideration what enormous bags 
have been made on well-preserved manors, it 
will be apparent that this amount of game 
could not possibly have been shot over dogs. 



THE FEAST OF ST PARTRIDGE. 291 

One instance will sufl&ce. In 1885 the Maha- 
rajah Dhuleep Singh and his party bagged at 
Elvedon in fifteen days' shooting no fewer than 
6516 partridges — the three biggest days' bags 
being respectively 307, 309, and 428 brace. 

A few words explanatory of partridge-driving 
may not be here out of place, and then, with 
your permission, we will form units of a party 
of six guns where a good day's sport may be 
expected. 

The guns are placed behind suitable cover : 
in some places this takes the form of thin 
" strips," planted specially for the purpose ; in 
others a tall "buUfincher" conceals the sports- 
man ; while in others, again, hurdles forming 
three sides of a square, and topped with gorse, 
are used as shelter, as the lay of the land dic- 
tates. The guns are placed at intervals of from 
sixty to eighty yards apart, and half a mile of 
ground is sufl&cient for a drive. In some in- 
stances this distance has to be exceeded, but it 
is as well not to do so ; for the birds after 
being put up once are very apt, on being 
flushed the second time, to go back over the 
heads of the beaters in spite of the most 
frantic shouting and waving of flags. Fifteen 
to twenty beaters are generally considered suffi- 



292 SPORT AT HOME — SHOOTING. 

cient for a drive, though, of course, where a 
large extent of ground has to be covered, this 
number may be increased. These men are ex- 
tended in line in a semicircle, the flanks being 
slightly in advance, and keeping well forward, 
so as to keep the birds from breaking away to 
one side. 

And now we will suppose that we have all 
been placed in our respective stands, and that 
we are awaiting the turn of events. This may 
take some time in coming — say twenty minutes. 
This will give you time to look about you, see 
where the other guns are posted, calculate the 
chance of getting a shot on the other side of 
the ash-tree in front of you, see that you are 
well concealed, and make general preparations 
for the fray. Do not be nervous or anxious, 
for though the birds will be on and past you 
like a flash of lightning, as long as you take 
them coming to you your chances of success 
will be considerably increased. Above all, once 
birds begin to come, do not go looking to see 
what other guns to your right and left are 
doing. Attend to your own business, and ledve 
others to look after theirs. 

The first intimation you will have that the game 
has begun will be some excited blackbirds and 



THE FEAST OF ST PARTRIDGE. 293 

thrushes twittering and flustering about in the 
fence or strip in front of you. The next probably 
will be the sight of a hare sneaking through the 
fence and cantering out into the field. There she 
stops for a moment ; then catching sight of several 
bipeds standing all in a row, she lays back her 
long ears and stretches away at her best pace, 
only to tumble head over heels forty yards off to 
a well-directed shot. But hark ! The words, 
" M-a-a-rk, m-a-rk," long drawn out, come softly 
wafted on the September breeze; then a "chirrup," 
and, like bullets from a gun, eight brown objects 
top the fence in front of you. 

" Well killed ! " You dropped that bird neatly, 
but you were too late with your second barrel, 
and by the time your loader has shoved your 
second gun into your hands the birds are topping 
the fence into the next field. " Swish " comes a 
covey to your right, and your next-door neigh- 
bour, who is an adept at killing driven partridges, 
has a brace down as they come to him, and also a 
single bird with his second gun, before they are 
out of shot. " Bang ! bang ! bang ! " and the 
fusilade goes on merrily all down the line ; little 
puffs of smoke issuing from the guns, and a cloud 
of feathers floating in the air, show that the 
battle is still waging. A single bird — a wary old 



294 SPORT AT HOME — SHOOTING. 

" Frenchman/' as red-legged partridges are called 
(and, by the way, these are always best for driv- 
ing, as they go very straight when flushed) — 
comes high over the ash- tree, whose height you 
calculated before the drive began. A regular 
*^ rocketer," it gives you infinite satisfaction to 
see him respond to your shot by doubling up his 
wings and descending with a thud that makes him 
rebound off* the ground as he falls a hundred yards 
behind you. Then you see the drivers approach- 
ing, so fire no more to your front. Not that you 
will get many chances of doing so, but in case (as 
indeed sometimes happens, birds have run on to 
the very end) this should occur, reserve your fire 
till the birds are past you. 

The slain having been collected, and having 
marked your card as so many "killed" and so 
many " gathered " (and we hope you will not ex- 
aggerate in this respect, as we have known some 
sportsmen do), you tell the keeper where any 
wounded or " towered " birds are, and move on to 
the next drive. 

This and the next, and the next, which last is 
perhaps the drive of the day, and witnessed by 
the ladies who come out to join you at lunch, 
give you plenty of shooting, and we will hope 
successful shooting ; for you will now have become 



THE FEAST OF ST PABTRIDGE. 295 

more accustomed to the sport, and, fired with a 
desire to emulate the gallant sportsman on your 
right, who has earned a world - renowned repu- 
tation as a *' shot," you, too, manage more than 
once to " pull 'em down " from the skies. 

Then lunch — that pleasant meal ! No sand- 
wich-and-flask business this; but a table spread 
in cool shade, with the whitest of tablecloths, 
flowers, silver, glass, all the delicacies of the sea- 
son, and vintage of the best ; graced, too, by the 
presence of pretty women, well dressed. An hour 
thus disposed of, and the inevitable cigarette 
smoked, you once more take the field, and the 
same game goes on ; only the probabilities are 
that you will not make quite such good shooting 
after lunch as you did before. Still, when the 
bag comes to be added up at the end of the day, 
you will find that some one, at any rate, has " held 
straight"; for the total may be 103 brace of par- 
tridges, two landrail, thirty-five hares, ten rabbits, 
and five wood-pigeons, amounting in all to 258 
head, which, after all, may be considered very 
satisfactory as the produce of six guns. 

Whether or not our anticipations for the next 
1st of September will be verified it is difficult to 
say. At any rate, may you and I, who pursue 
the plump little partridge — whether we shoot 



296 SPOET AT HOME — SHOOTING. 

him in a humble and old - fashioned way over 
doge, whether we partake of the more lordly 
" drive," or even " walk " him up — find him 
plentiful wherever we shoot, and may we all 
" hold straight," particularly at an old cock 
bird. 



Wn old cock bird. 



297 



CHAPTER IV. 

A DAY ON THE OUTSIDES. 

In spite of October having earned the epithet of 
" chill," to the sportsman it is anything but a 
gloomy month. In fact it is very bright, and 
anything but chill and sombre. The falling 
leaves usher in to the lover of the gun a season 
of new joys, and touch a responsive chord in his 
heart as he sees them flutter down. On the 1st 
of October the whole category of birds and 
beasts of the chase may be pursued and slain 
legitimately. By then the woods and coppices 
have showered down their wealth of foliage, the 
brown and yellow tinted leaves begin to carpet 
the ground, and the bare branches of the trees 
to form a network against the sky. 

Poets and painters may surround the mid- 
month of autumn with a halo of sadness which 
speaks of the dying year, but the sportsman's 
heart is pervaded with far different feelings. To 
him it brings in its train new delights, new 
avocations, and a thirst for those joys of the 



298 SPORT AT HOME — SHOOTING. 

chase which permeate with such fervency the 
minds of Diana's votaries. In hunting countries, 
by October the cubs have been well hustled and 
taught to fly at the sound of horn or hound, 
and have begun to learn that safety is more 
often ensured by instant flight than by a vacil- 
lating policy. The young entry, too, have had 
their appetites whetted, tasted the delicacy of 
fox-flesh, and been imbued with ardour for the 
chase ; while horses are putting on muscle, and 
getting into condition for the harder work of 
regular hunting. In those parts of the country 
where the gun reigns supreme, grouse and par- 
tridges have developed into maturity, and are not 
only strong on the wing, but very different birds 
from what they were in August and September ; 
and last, but not least, on the 1st of October it 
becomes legal to shoot the Colchian bird, which 
forms the piece de resistance of so many shooting 
manors. 

Few days in the shooter's calendar surpass this 
day — a day when a mixed bag is looked forward 
to; and though some weeks must elapse before 
the big " shoots " take place, when the lover of 
^^ rocketers" has his innings, yet even now he 
may find some wily, long-tailed old cock pheasant 
hid in the dewy leaves of a spinney or amid the 
tangled growth of a hedgerow, who will afford 
him a fair mark on which to exercise his skill. 



A DAY ON THE OUTSIDES. 299 

Some, indeed, think that a pheasant is as easy 
to hit as a haystack, and that he should never be 
missed. He looks so big on the wing — and so 
easy to shoot. False assumption ! Though he 
rises with a fuss and fluster that are sometimes 
trying to weak nerves, with the sun flashing on 
his prismatic -coloured plumage that makes him 
take the shape of a birdlike firework, yet these 
very facts make him deceptive, and to cut down 
an old cock pheasant handsomely requires an 
artist — for a duffer is hopelessly "out of it." 

The surroundings, too, of October sport, are 
inviting. The weather is neither too hot nor too 
cold. Morning frosts make the air exhilarating, 
and in the shade on the north side of the coverts 
and fences the leaves and grass-blades are often 
encrusted with a powdering of hoar-frost that 
speaks of approaching winter, while the pleasant 
musky odour of decaying leaves greets us as we 
pass through the woods, and our feet sink deep 
into the soft carpeting of moss and fallen foliage. 
The whole country has a quiet look, which be- 
tokens the coming end of the year, and the 
approach of the season dear to the sportsman's 
heart. Yes, take it all round, October is a most 
sporting month, and its first day by no means its 
worst. 

Let us take a ramble together — you and I, 
and another — and go round the "outsides," to 



300 SPORT AT HOME — SHOOTING. 

take toll of any pheasants that, attracted by the 
falling acorns, have strayed beyond the bounds 
of safety afforded by the home coverts. If you 
be not a stickler for big bags, take pleasure in 
the working of dogs, and are game for a good 
tramp, I think I can promise you (on paper hien 
entendu) a pleasant day, a mixed bag, and an 
appetite for dinner. We will take two brace of 
spaniels, a steady old pointer, a retriever, and 
half-a-dozen men and boys to beat, and, if you 
please, we will shoot no " hens," unless they are 
going the ivrong way. 

How delicious is the clear morning air, with 
the damp smell of the earth, where the hoar- 
frost has succumbed to the sun's bright rays, 
as we tell Shot, the pointer, to " hold up ! " in 
a stubble-field ! The old dog soon gets on birds, 
but they rise wild, and skim on over a grass- 
field, till we see them flap their wings and alight 
in some turnips beyond. Thither we follow them, 
getting en route a hare that springs from her 
form in a spot where something has gone wrong 
with the reaping-machine and left a thick patch 
of stubble. In the turnips we find the partridges 
we have marked in, besides others, and between 
us we account for four and a half brace — letting go 
three hen pheasants which fly towards the home 
coverts. A little patch of seed-clover furnishes 
a late -staying landrail and a brace more par- 



A DAY ON THE OUTSIDES. 301 

tridges, and then, following a footpath, we make 
our way to the boundary hedge. A great hairy 
fence is this, surmounted by a thick growth of 
hazel where "the bramble and the brushwood 
struggle blindly o'er the bank," and tall oaks 
tell us we shall probably here find some errant 
pheasants. 

One gun goes forward, the others taking 
either side of the fence, for we have a mutual 
understanding with our next - door neighbour ; 
and then the spaniels. Fan and Rattle, are un- 
coupled and hop up into the fence, while a couple 
of boys tap the fence as we go. '*Yap, yap, 
yap ! " goes Fan, and out from a tangled tuft of 
fern and brier a "great gollaring, red -eyed" 
cock pheasant emerges with a prodigious fluster, 
and with a hop, skip, and jump launches forth. 
You give him law of course, but perhaps too 
much, for though you knock him over he proves 
an active pedestrian, and exhibits how much lead 
a cock pheasant can carry away on two legs, 
before Sam, the retriever, brings him back, hold- 
ing him so gently that the bird's bright eyes are 
turned on us in wonder, until a beater taps him 
on the head with his ash stick, and sends him 
to that bourne from which no pheasant returneth. 
So the fence is beaten out, and many another. 
Now the side guns get chances, now the forward 
gun ; while a few rabbits add variety to the bag 



302 SPORT AT HOME— SHOOTING. 

as we dawdle along and watch the little spaniels, 
with their ever-busy tails, bustKng along the 
undergrowth and worming their way through an 
extra- thick patch of bramble and fern. 

So we shoot our way till lunch-time, and eat 
our modest meal under a bank, while an unhung 
gate affords a seat secure from the damp ground ; 
and after just "twa draws'' of a soothing pipe, 
we resume our sport. At last we reach a couple 
of little spinneys which lie contiguous to danger- 
ous ground ; for the land adjoining belongs to 
one of that abominable class who use cider-cake, 
Indian corn, and damaged raisins to decoy our 
birds on to their ground, from whence they never 
return — so the fiat goes forth to "shoot every- 
thing." A brief but pretty bit of sport we have 
here, for the little coverts are favourite spots 
for pheasants ; they come high too, rocketing 
over the tall trees, and the cries of " Cock (or 
Hen) over!" "Hare forward!" "Babbit to the 
left ! " come constantly from the beaters. So by 
the time the spinneys are beaten out we have a 
goodly show ; and as we note our last victim 
reposing on a bed of golden and olive tinted moss, 
with the sunlight slanting on his rich and varied- 
coloured plumage, glossy neck, and purple crest, 
we must fain acknowledge that, despite all his 
detractors, an old cock pheasant is a magnificent 
game bird. 



A DAY ON THE OUTSIDES. 303 

But there are more hedgerows to be beaten, 
and so we go on, getting a few pheasants here, a 
few there ; while an unwary wood-pigeon, intent 
on beech -mast, and a rabbit that springs from 
a tussock of rough grass and goes bobbing along 
showing his white scut, add variety to the bag. 
And now the shades of evening are drawing in. 
A slight misty fog rising all along the valley 
betokens the presence of a stream, and, intent 
on " mixing the bag," we turn our steps thither. 
Ah ! here we are. Slowly and with an oily 
' motion glides the current between reed and flag 
fringed banks, and Sam, the retriever, cocks 
his ears and looks anxiously at the water as a 
moor-hen rises and goes skittering along the 
surface, then, alighting with a splash, promptly 
dives. " Get in, old man ! " and in Sam bounces, 
and is soon busy splashing about among the flags 
and reeds. " Quack, quack ! " and up gets a 
brood of ducks. Six barrels ring out. You 
have a couple down, our friend one, while I drop 
one to my first barrel, and the second bird, hard 
hit, shivers up against the wind for a moment, 
then wobbles on, and finally falls with a crash 
into an osier-bed higher up the river. 

On our way to gather him a couple of snipe 
rise from an oozy patch. Of these you and our 
friend each secure one, and then it is time to 
stop and count our bag. Here it is : thirty-three 



304 SPORT AT HOME — SHOOTING. 

pheasants, thirteen partridges, four hares, sixteen 
rabbits, five wild duck, one landrail, two snipe, 
one wood-pigeon ; total, seventy-five head. So 
home. Are you satisfied ? I know I am ; and a 
day " on the outsides " is not half-bad fun. Is it, 
now ? And you must take a brace of " long-tails " 
with you. 



A brace of " long-laih." 



END OF THE WEST VOLUME. 



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THE UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA UBRARY